New article from Tatton Investment Management: Mega techs under the cosh

6 August 2021

After an unexciting July in terms of investment returns, August has made a strong start, with US job markets figures delivering a much-appreciated positive surprise today, while corporate earnings reports continue to support elevated stock market levels across the Western world. The  reporting period for the first quarter was very strong and this one has progressed in the same vein, although the pace of analyst upward revisions of earnings estimates has been tailing off in comparison to last quarter’s stellar upgrade path. Still, it has been nearly as good so far, with UK upgrades strongest this time (according to Factset’s aggregates). We look at the UK in detail in a separate article after an interesting Bank of England (BoE) Monetary Policy Committee meeting this week. 

We have written at length recently about how rising bond yields can be a threat to stock market valuations, unless corporate earnings growth outpaces the yield growth headwind. Against that backdrop, the recent rise in earnings expectations confirmed by the latest quarterly earnings season has not generated as strong an equity market as might have been expected. In fact, while markets have risen somewhat, they have also become a little cheaper, as yields have fallen while earnings have risen strongly. This is good news for investors, as it provides a bit of a buffer should yields rise again – a prospect that is still very much with us. Only this week, Citi Research noted that it expects a rise in US ten-year (long) yields from 1.1% to 2.0% into 2022. 

Given that central banks are edging towards a reduction of (yield supressing) monetary support on the back of expected sustained growth, this anticipation of gradually higher long yields seems quite justified. Provided earnings expectations continue to rise – as they should if growth does becomes sustained – that is a recipe for generally stable equity prices rather than big moves either way. We would be happy to see valuation levels ease back further as they did over the past months as this would provide for better-based, more sustainable valuations, even when yields gradually normalise upwards.

The week started with further indications that China is continuing its rapid pace of regulatory ‘reform’. Last week, online education companies were targeted. This week, it was about the negative impacts of computer games, and monopoly in music rights. China’s tech giant Tencent felt some pain, although it ended the week only about 5% lower than the start.



The compression of Chinese tech giants like AliBaba and Tencent has been met in the US and UK with some cognitive dissonance. Many investors are wary of the impact of mega-techs like Amazon, believing that their behaviour has destroyed general profitability. Yet investors also find it difficult to think that the Chinese authorities’ behaviour is about ensuring a level and fair playing field for its domestic businesses. 

However, our research partners TS Lombard point out that similar efforts are gathering steam, especially in the US. Remarkably perhaps, the push may be coming from the Republicans even more than the Democrats. Grace Fan of TS Lombard comments; “Biden’s recent nomination of a Google foe, Jonathan Kanter, to head the Justice Department’s (DoJ) antitrust division confirms an inflection point in US antitrust regulation. For more than four decades, the consumer welfare standard has been the prevailing yardstick for US antitrust cases (the ‘Chicago School’). As a result, M&A deals were usually approved when there appeared to be no grounds of concern about consumer interests (i.e. there was no burden of proof about consumers actually benefitting, but a lower bar that they would not be seriously harmed). However, Kanter and other critics who belong to the ‘neo-Brandeis School’ have argued that this standard is both inadequate for the digital age and one that has led to highly concentrated industries, hurting workers and consumers alike.”

This follows the April appointment of 32-year-old Professor Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission, which shares anti-trust enforcement with the DoJ. As a law student at Yale, Khan came to prominence with a research paper on Amazon.com that cast the online retail giant as a harmful monopoly and argued for a rethink of antitrust enforcement.

Discussions about regulation are not the same as actual regulation. However, Biden has pushed various US agencies to act. His 9 July Executive Order called for 72 new measures across more than a dozen federal agencies to curb excessive corporate consolidation. For tech firms, this means greater scrutiny of both past and future acquisitions (including nascent rivals), as well as new rules to prevent excessive data collection, surveillance and ‘unfair competition’ in online marketplaces.

For tech businesses, the acquisitions have tended to be other US-based companies. For non-tech US businesses, it may mean looking outside the US for targets. Even then, the US blocked the AON/Willis Towers Watson merger despite it being a US/UK entity merger, because of the global nature of insurance brokerage.

Europe may not be so happy to see such approaches, although the UK government is likely to be a bit more welcoming. Lockheed Martin may not be able to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne but Parker-Hannifin can buy Meggitt.

While this means China’s regulatory approach may not end up being so different to the US or Europe, it does not mean China will automatically benefit from the apparent levelling of the playing field. Trump attacked Chinese companies like Huawei on security grounds and Biden is expanding, not reversing, this policy stance. This week, a ban on investment for a further 59 Chinese companies was put into effect. Indeed, across a whole range of measures, Biden is stepping up the pressure. TS Lombard expect Xi Jinping to be more reactive than proactive, but there will be a lot of potential reactions. After he is (probably) confirmed in his third term, just over a year from now, he may return to a more aggressive approach.

Returning to the mega-techs of the US, they face headwinds across the board. Their revenues and reach are big enough to mean that the secular excess growth of the past 20 years may already be difficult to sustain going forward. At the same time, the now-attained relative certainty of their profits in the future also mean that higher yields affect their valuations more than the cyclicals; tax policies will be targeted towards their profits; their acquisitive business models face significant pushback. 

Rather than being just talk, policy change appears to be underway. Indeed, the new appointees to the various US agencies will be under pressure to act from both sides of the US political divide. The US mega-tech companies have enjoyed an incredibly supportive policy environment, and there is an increasing belief it will prove challenging to sustain shareholder expectations for future growth levels. We should not write them off just yet, but as always, a broadly diversified portfolio has a better chance of benefitting from growth opportunities, wherever they are.

 

News Archive

17 September 2021

News from Tatton Investment Management: End of the re-opening honeymoon

10 September 2021

News from Tatton Investment Management: Paying for it - major economies ponder their balance sheets

3 September 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Politics and policy sit at the head of the table

27 August 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fed tapering: the 'how' matters more than 'when'

20 August 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets hit a bit of to and fro

16 August 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Climbing the wall of worry - again

11 August 2021

Midas Share Tips: The Daily Mail views onTatton Asset Management

6 August 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Mega techs under the cosh

30 July 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer lull as markets go through the motions

23 July 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets wake up to living with the virus

16 July 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Earnings vs Delta

12 July 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Don't look down

2 July 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management:Transition uncertainties

25 June 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Moderating expectations

18 June 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Investors try to make sense of the Feds 'dot-plot'

11 June 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hazy as Carbis Bay

4 June 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Going up sideways

28 May 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Touch of Goldilocks at the end of May

21 May 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market resilience in face of Bitcoin crash

14 May 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market vertigo galore

10 May 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sell in May and go away?

30 April 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Doubling of earnings leaves markets cold

23 April 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 'Risk on' pauses while the real world keeps accelerat

19 April 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: New bond news gives green light for equity investors

9 April 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond markets signal economic optimism

1 April 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The first quarter of 2021 was no April fool

26 March 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The world is moving on from the pandemic

19 March 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Tug of war - bonds vs. equities

12 March 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Recalibrations

5 March 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stock markets find they cannot have it both ways

26 February 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Earnings look set to stabilise wobbling markets

19 February 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: One year on - who would have thought

12 February 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: No UK double dip, but much talk of bubbles

5 February 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Calming of nerves

1 February 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A fraying of nerves

25 January 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A sigh of relief

15 January 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fiscal turbo replaces lame duck Trump

8 January 2021

New article from Tatton Investment Management: End points and new beginnings

18 December 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Goodbye to all that

14 December 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Outlook 2021 - no deal Brexit?

4 December 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: December concerns over baubles and bubbles

27 November 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fiscal floundering

20 November 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: More tunnel before the light

18 November 2020

Interim Results For The Six Month Period Ended 30 September 2020

13 November 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Change is in the air

6 November 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Looking beyond the obvious

4 November 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US Election Update

2 November 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: US election, the response to the pandemic and Brexit

30 October 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Unsettled week ahead - or behind

26 October 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sunlit uplands or COVID gorge?

19 October 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Watching and waiting

12 October 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Baffling market optimism

2 October 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A question of time horizons

25 September 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A recovery on hold

18 September 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Taking a step back to look forward

14 September 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Frictions and contradictions

7 September 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market dynamic of a K-shaped recovery

1 September 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Big tech gets bigger while the Fed takes the easy opt

24 August 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fed leaves bond investors with that sinking feeling

17 August 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: COVID II the sequel - as scary as the original?

10 August 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: July brings consolidation

2 August 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sunshine and shadows

27 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: PPE = Politics, Pressure and Economics

20 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Discomfort of disappearing safety nets

13 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fast and freewheeling

3 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: H1 2020 offers meaningful lessons

29 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Support balances increasing strains - for how long?

22 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Equity valuations follow bond valuations' lead

15 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stock markets suffer altitude sickness

8 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets are enjoying an uncomfortably benign pandemic

1 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Optimistic markets despite second wave lockdown threa

26 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Just as the sun comes out, clouds appear in the East

22 May 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management

18 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Us-China cold war: Threat or blessing?

11 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Most welcome, if feeble, signs of pulling together

4 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Opening-up will be slower than locking down

27 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: V or U-shaped recovery scenarios - the jury is out

20 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Lifting lockdown remains a delicate balancing act

20 April 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Stock markets between hope and despair

15 April 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Is now the time to invest?

13 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fading threat of financial crisis re-opens old divide

6 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Unprecedented quarter or calm before the storm?

30 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Extraordinary: bear and bull market all in one

24 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Why have stock markets appeared to rally on the lock-do

23 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Government ordered recession

19 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Confusion reigns in Capital Markets

18 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Why aren't you doing something?

17 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: From euphoric recovery to depressed tumble

16 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Notes on a crash: the short, the medium and long term

13 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Panic equity selling or panic raising of precautionar

12 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Forced sellers and other distractions

9 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Dark times or glimpse of light at the end of the tunn

6 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: News of a reverse oil price shock rattles markets bey

2 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Coronavirus - hitting too close to home

28 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: This week's market correction requires perspective

26 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: COVID-19 and the reaction of markets to pandemic fear

24 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US markets hit new all-time highs and a 'bump'

17 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: V-shaped recovery for Valentine

10 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets show no fear - should they?

3 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Looking through the noise of the week

27 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Short break to Goldilocks?

20 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Parallels and differences to January 2018

14 January 2020

Appointment of Joint Broker

13 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: So far so good

8 January 2020

Tatton: Woodford & M&G suspensions have driven IFAs to us

6 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 2020 starts with a Trump card

23 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Goodbye 2019 - welcome 2020 and a new decade!

16 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brightening horizons - 2020 Outlook

8 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Can Trump derail the 2020 economic upturn?

2 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets are driving the markets

25 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets pause for reality check

18 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Swilling cash eases the market mood music

11 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Recession concerns retreat

11 November 2019

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2019

4 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Crucial October period safely behind

28 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Slowly turning

21 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit breakthrough versus Brexit fatigue

17 October 2019

Trading Statement

17 October 2019

Acquisition of Sinfonia Asset Management Limited (SAM)

14 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

7 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stall speed economy fears spreading

30 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ominous US-Dollar strength

23 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Diverging economic trends - catalyst for trade war re

16 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

9 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Choppy water but no storm, yet...

2 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fattening 'tails'

27 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Populism politics reversing austerity?

19 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market spat between bond and equity markets

11 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond markets unnerve equity markets - again

5 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The Elephant and the Little Old Lady

29 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The quick and the not-so-quick

22 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ...'Twere well it were done quickly

15 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Positioning for a summer of wait and see

8 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Liquidity drives stock markets to new highs

1 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The middle of the year - a tipping point?

24 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Battle of the ‘doves’

17 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Mixed messages

10 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The return of the central bank put?

3 June 2019

Appointment by Tenet Group

3 June 2019

Appointment by Frenkel Topping

3 June 2019

Preliminary Results For the year ended 31 March 2019

3 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond rally musings

27 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting warmer

20 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market support for Trump or unwarranted equanimity?

13 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Geopolitics re-enter market stage

7 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Central banks disappoint expectations

29 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Waning market stimuli put stock markets on notice

23 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Spring time from here?

16 April 2019

Trading Statement for 12 months ending 31 March 2019

15 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit in-limbo aside sentiment is improving

8 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Happy 10th birthday, choppy bull market

1 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management:29 March 2019 – quarter end

25 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brinkmanship and extensions

18 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bits & Pieces

11 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ECB stimulus U-turn leaves markets unimpressed

4 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: £-Sterling ‘applauds’ prospect of Brexit delay

25 February 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress?

18 February 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Investment perspectives for different Brexit outcomes

15 November 2018

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2018

15 October 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Autopsy of a stock market sell-off

1 October 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Poor politics containing bond market risks?

27 September 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit clamour vs. real market new

7 September 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Interesting times ahead

31 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: “Not the end of the world”

24 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Steady markets vs. noisy politics

17 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Political strongman tactics come home to roost

10 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer heat wave makes way for return of political he

3 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A gentle deceleration?

27 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hot air for a hot summer?

20 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management:Earnings are growing, why worry?

13 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hard Brexit demonstration potential?

6 July 2018

Notice of Annual General Meeting

6 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting hot

29 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Digesting or consolidating?

27 June 2018

Preliminary Results for the year ended 31 March 2018

22 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fragile recovery

15 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: No surprises

8 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Delicate equilibrium

1 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ignore politics at your peril

25 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: GDPR? No - far more interesting news!

18 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: What's the economic reality of this week's news?

11 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Batten-down-the-hatches?

4 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Past the peak?

27 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Confusing signals?

20 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A mixture of messages

6 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Could do better

6 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Peaking, plateauing or dimming – and how about that

29 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: End of a stormy quarter

23 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Now we know it's risky!

16 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Back to Normal?

9 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Tariffs to growth

2 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Time to take some profits

23 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Change of direction or gradual normalisation?

16 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Breathing easier for the moment

9 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Meteoric stock markets crash bac

6 February 2018

Tatton Investment Management's Stock Market Correction Assessment

2 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Good news turns bad news - again!

26 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Surprises

19 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US$ weakness versus Bitcoin and Carillion

12 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bullish sentiment rings alarm bells

5 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Encouraging kick-off

15 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 2017 - taking stock

8 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress versus Bitcoin

5 December 2017

Interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2017

1 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sudden, but not entirely unexpected

24 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Invincible markets?

17 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Yield-curve flattening: a bad omen?

10 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Nervous investors herald more volatile markets

3 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: UK rate rise: ‘one and done’ or beginning of rate

27 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Trick or treat season

13 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: All-time highs and Q3 results outlook: Reasons to be

6 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news – good news

29 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Movements

22 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: QT to reverse QE and 2-year transition period to soft

15 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: BoE guides for year-end rate hike - Bluff or real?

8 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ‘Back to school’ amidst hurricanes, earthquakes

1 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news, Good news

25 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer low or summer lull?

18 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: More sellers than buyers

11 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stocks take note of North Korea crisis - or do they?

4 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Consolidated base but momentum dwindling

28 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer thoughts about the ‘longer term’

21 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer lull - delayed

14 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Pre summer-holiday investment check

7 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Global growth ploughs on while markets take a breathe

23 June 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Quo Vadis Britain?