Can a Small Group of Tech Geeks Crash the Market?

If you had Google Glass on your early 2016 Christmas list, I have some bad news for you…

It looks like Google is quietly giving up on encouraging consumers to wear smartphones and cameras on their faces.

“Four years after unveiling its wearable glass headset, Alphabet Inc’s Google shut down several social media accounts linked to the Glass gadget, ending its push to popularize the pricey eyeglasses with consumers,” Reuters reports. “On Tuesday, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for Google Glass were no longer active…”

But in fairness, not even this mustachioed hipster could make Google Glass look cool:

Google Glass

Gadgets are out right now. And today you’re going to see what investors are flocking to now for safety in this market. Guess what? We’re heading there too…

The stock market’s undergone a rapid change of character in 2016. As I told you earlier this month, many stocks have a bad case of gadget-itis.

These high-tech gadgets are an infection spreading through the markets like the winter flu. “Wearables” wowed speculators when the market was roaring higher. Now the gadget pure-plays are seeing their shares slammed back to earth.

In 2016, gadgets are killing stocks left and right. Fitbit (NYSE:FIT), maker of those little vibrating bracelets people wear to tell them how many steps they’ve taken every day, is down more than 65% from its 2015 highs. GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO), another high-profile gadget maker, is down more than 80% over the past six months.

And now Google—in an attempt to ward off the gadget virus—is jumping ship on one of its most talked about tech projects over the past four years. Will it save the stock? Only time will tell.

In fairness, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been one of the better performers of what’s left of the FANG brigade everyone’s chattered about for months. For the uninitiated, that’s Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. As the major averages started to run out of steam last year, these four horsemen kept chugging along.

Until this month, that is…

The Four Flops

Facebook is down nearly 10% this month. Amazon is 13% lower. Netflix has cratered more than 20%. And good ol’ Google—I mean, Alphabet—is off a mere 8%. The stocks that every fund manager coveted last year are quickly becoming pariahs. No one complained about how expensive Amazon and Netflix were when they were delivering huge returns last year. Now, that’s all you’ll read about.

The only thing that changes with this scenario today is that Facebook shares will pop higher after beating earnings expectations last night. How long this bounce lasts is anyone’s guess…

Again, it all goes back to the market’s change in character. A couple of years ago, investors were fawning over every newfangled piece of consumer technology hitting the market. Now, GoPros and Apple Watches are the butt of jokes.

Investors don’t want hip gadgets or high-tech, popular stocks right now. Instead, they’re screaming for a safe haven. You don’t have to dig too deep to see what they’re up to, either. So far this year, the two best performing S&P sectors are utilities and consumer staples. It ain’t even close.

As we limp toward the end of the week, the Fed is also fueling the market malaise. The major averages knifed lower after Yellen & Co. decided not to raise rates yesterday (a decision everyone agreed the market wanted beforehand).

Good news, bad news, no news—it doesn’t seem to matter. Stocks ain’t interested in rallying right now.

We’ll explore some more safe haven trade ideas tomorrow. Until then, keep an eye on the “boring” utilities and staples stocks. They’re not gonna rob you blind like the falling FANGs…

Sincerely,

Greg Guenthner
for The Daily Reckoning

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