05 Oct 2020

Covid19 and the rise of the tech stock

Andrew Theban

Associate Investment Manager

A revolution has come – but is it here to stay?

There is no doubt that, for most of us, our reliance on technology has increased in the past few months. Some have turned to technology to maintain ‘business as usual’ at work, some to keep in touch with loved ones, and some perhaps out of boredom. Most of us, I would imagine, are a combination of all three.

The irregular progress of technology adoption

Working from home, for me, has been seamless. Credit here goes to the Investec Wealth & Investment IT department and management teams who enabled us to maintain our client focus despite not being present in the office. By making it easy for us, they made it easy for our clients, many of whom will not have even noticed the transition.

 

Managing the Sunday afternoon family quiz from my living room, however, was not seamless. After restarting various apps, laptops and routers, I had reached the limit of my IT knowledge and with no IT department to turn to (they, unfortunately, do not resolve basic IT illiteracy problems in your personal life), I found that a quick ‘google’ solved the issues. Overcoming teething issues has been paramount for those of us recently forced to use technology to see loved ones, shop for groceries or even see your GP.

Impact on the stock markets

The large increase in users has buoyed the S&P 500 which posted its best quarterly results since 1998 at the start of July. Remembering that the ‘FAANG’ stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix & Google) constitute around 21% of the total market cap of the S&P 500, we see the disproportionate, and somewhat distorting, affect these technology stocks have on the performance of the overall index.

A turning point – or not – for tech

Some of us using the technology for the first time will have formed habits and will become permanent users. According to a study by University College London in 2009, it takes between 18 and 254 days for an individual to form a habit (depending on how stubborn the individual is). I don’t mean to insinuate that repetition is the only deciding factor in the formation of new habits and behaviours, as it certainly isn’t - I doubt that I will be singing ‘Happy Birthday’ as I wash my hands 10 years from now.

 

Lockdowns around the world have forced us to embrace technologies that were perhaps 10 years or so from becoming mainstream. As we ease ourselves back into ‘normality’ it will be interesting to see what sticks to become the ‘new normal’. Only time will tell.

About the author

To contact or read more about Andrew Theban, visit his biography here.

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