These bulls aren’t giving up on tech stocks

Lately, tech stock bulls are kind of like the “buddy” in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

You got blood on your face. You big disgrace. Wavin’ your banner all over the place.

It’s hard to feel like you can take on the world some day when the Nasdaq is down 15% since the start of 2016 and many high-profile tech stocks have fallen much further than that.

But amazingly enough, analysts at ARK Invest — a firm that runs several actively managed high-tech ETFs that have been absolutely annihilated so far in 2016 — are still waving their banner for the likes of Tesla, LinkedIn and Netflix.

ARK Invest runs these three tech funds. Here’s how they’ve done:

ARK Industrial Innovation: down 23%
ARK Innovation: down 26%
ARK Web x.0: down 30%.

(Yes, Web x.0 is the real name of the fund. I guess that will make it still relevant by the time we are talking about Web 17.0 companies in 2094 — when my cryogenically frozen brain is transmitting you stories telepathically!)

But despite these absolutely dreadful year-to-date returns, analysts at ARK are not worried.

ARK analyst Tasha Keeney said the firm is investing with at least a five-year time horizon in mind. She said the bigger risk for many of the companies ARK owns is new competition — not turmoil in the global economy.

In fact, she and her colleagues think now’s a good time to double down on quality tech companies.

James Wang, another ARK analyst, said that the selloffs for some mega tech stocks appear to be way overdone. Facebook, Alphabet and Netflix all reported results that topped forecasts.

It’s just that investors are shunning anything remotely risky (and anything with a high valuation) due to worries about oil and China.

“The fundamentals for big cap techs are getting better,” Wang said. “If you are rational and can ride out short-term volatility, then these are good buying opportunities.”

Of course, it’s hard to ignore those pesky emotions. When you see a stock you own plunge as much as Amazon and Netflix have, its tempting to think that their best days must be behind them. It’s time to sell before things get worse.

But Wang said that would be a mistake.

“Amazon and Netflix have proven track records as public companies,” he said. “If you were salivating about their prospects two months ago, then you should still like them at prices that are 30% off.”

Both stocks are top-ten holdings in the Web x.0 and Innovation ETFs.

But what about some smaller techs, companies like Tesla, LinkedIn and 3D printing firm Stratasys? They are all big investments in the Ark Industrial Innovation fund.

Sam Korus, who follows Tesla for ARK, thinks that the company is still a great long-term bet. He said that investors are now underestimating how popular electric cars could be by 2020.

“Tesla won’t have trouble selling the cars as long as they can produce them,” he said, adding that ARK bought more shares of Tesla after the stock price fell below $200 earlier this year.

The stock was up 6% on Thursday following its latest earnings report, but Tesla shares are still trading for just $152.

Still, the ARK analysts conceded that some stocks were probably due for a pullback because expectations had gotten out of line with reality.

Keeney said Stratasys — which owns consumer 3D printer company Makerbot — may be suffering because there was too much hype about how popular 3D printers would be with average consumers. But 3D printing is still a huge business on the industrial side.

And then there’s LinkedIn. During a single day last week, the stock lost nearly half its value because the company issued an earnings outlook that was below Wall Street’s forecasts. Wang said this was an extreme overreaction and remains bullish on LinkedIn.

But the ARK analysts said they also know when it’s time to throw in the towel when it looks like a stock may not have a good chance of bouncing back.

A case in point? Wang said that Ark sold off its stake in Twitter before the company reported its latest disappointing results.

Twitter hit a new all-time low on Thursday.

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