Tech's Low Expectations Attract a Bid

 | Apr 09, 2013 | 6:39 PM EDT  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

orcl

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msft

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intc

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aapl

All that some of these tech stocks need to do is just come within a hair of what they are expected to do, and they could rally. That's what I saw today when many of them lifted off, ostensibly because China might be getting stronger.

You know what makes me confident that that could be the case? Take a look at Oracle (ORCL). People sold that stock down to $31 and change when it reported, and ever since then it has been a slow and steady climb higher.

Now today, many people were buying nascent Oracles, stocks where the estimates had been cut already and people are pretty sure that the numbers will be ugly when we see them: Intel (INTC), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL). When you buy stocks ahead of quarters where the numbers have already been slashed, then you know what you are getting into, and I can see people saying, "Look, at 10x earnings, I think I can take the risk that things will be OK even if they just miss the number but talk about how they will make future numbers."

I don't think that's a wrong calculation. Now you can't get away with that if you think the U.S. and China are getting weaker, but you can if you say that inventories are really lean and that the second half shows promise and leave it at that.

All day today, I searched for reasons why tech could not only go up -- that was China -- but stay up. And that's because expectations have been slashed already and people think, rightly or wrongly, that that immunizes the stocks. I think it can immunize them, but if they run for several days, the immunization will wear off, and the attempt-to-bottom process will start all over again.

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