Coyote

As the market cap of Apple balloons through a still hard to believe $3 trillion, analysts are left scrambling to upgrade their forecasts and lavish ever more compliments on a stock that now dominates the S&P 500. One analyst even chose this week out of all weeks, to upgrade to a ‘BUY!’ with a somewhat forlorn price target offering a mere 20% upside. This after the stock has run like a Wily Coyote, rallying over 350% since the start of 2019 and sitting on a 30 -plus earnings multiple. A 30-plus earnings multiple for a threadbare 2% earnings growth for 2022, according to Bloomberg consensus. The latest fluff for the bulls is augmented reality, overshadowing the tough stay-at-home comparisons and news that the company has been cutting orders across the supplier base. The heat in the shares has been quite the story of late. Alongside other mega-mega-caps, the colossal weight they now command across many indices means that their day-to-day fortunes drive the market. This leaves those exposed to interesting mid-cap stocks heaving into some heavy seas, and the headline market level close to giddy all-time highs. And yet the distortions within the market are extreme, and the deterioration in the breadth of the NASDAQ strikes a similar chord to the go-go days of the infamous 2000 tech wreck. Some analysts say that the squeezy multiples of many tech stocks are fine, earnings are strong and their dominant positions mean growth is more than sustainable. That may well be true, but there is also a business cycle at play. Twelve years post the subprime mortgage led meltdown the business cycle is getting extended. And what of those rich valuations in the context of rising inflation where official readings – despite the YTD surge – consistently jar with real-world experiences? Perhaps software is a sign of stickier times ahead, where once hot stocks in a once hot sector are a long, long way off 52-week highs. The market chose to go after the FOMC announcement, but many internal readings should perhaps cap enthusiasm as the bell tolls on an exuberant 2021.