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What the Heck Is A “Tech-Hungry” Investor?

Phrase is one of the most rote, non-descriptive expressions currently in use on Wall Street

If I read in the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s the term “tech-hungry” investor one more time, I think I shall go mad. Writers for the Journal and Barron’s have an inveterate habit of consistently referring indiscriminately to shares of companies whose products or business operations have nothing to do with technology, as “tech” stocks.

I have always wondered: why are these ”tech” investors always hungry? Didn’t they eat breakfast? Perhaps these “tech-hungry” investors aren’t so much famished, as they are suffused with FOMA (fear of missing out).

These investors believe that every IPO in the docket is the next Facebook or Amazon and hence the misnomer of calling the next company that goes public as a “tech” IPO. Financial writers do not disabuse these investors of that notion. Recently, every single unicorn in the IPO pipeline looking to issue new stock to investors, has been grossly mischaracterized as a “tech” offering.

My first question for those who take such license with phrases that misinform their readers is, How is Uber, a “tech” company? The writers, with reckless abandon, conflate a company like Intel with a company whose aspirations, in part, are to displace the taxi cab. How the operation of Uber could possibly be described as high-tech or low tech, is an endearing mystery.

We never read in any of the financial publications about
“consumer discretionary-hungry” investors or “utility-starved” investors, so why is the term “tech-hungry” investor employed with such frequency and disregard for proper usage?

Part of the reason I believe, is that financial writers, are too lazy to properly describe with precision, or use language that is better suited for the companies on which they are reporting. The term might have been applicable during the decade-long bull market, when each member of the FANG grouping, regardless of the nature of the actual product or service sold, was habitually defined as a “tech” company, because the group, due to its rapid growth and industry-disrupting influence, was primarily responsible for bring the market to new highs. However, this pigeonholing misconstrued or mindlessly equated every growth stock as a “tech” stock. But, at the time, the entire Street accepted, indeed embraced, without question, this mischaracterization.

Thankfully, after a decade of what had become a common practice on Wall Street among investors, analysts and writers alike, some guiding lights from Standard & Poor’s intervened recently and decided a company that sells streaming video shouldn’t really be in the same index as Samsung or Apple. The only two companies of the original FANG sector that remain in the “tech” index, are Apple and Google.

One would have thought this bad grammatical habit would have been cured when the original FANG group was disbanded and the stocks relocated to more appropriate indexes that reflect accurately the nature of their respective companies core business.

Once the indexes and groupings were adjusted last year, writers for the Journal and Barron’s had plenty of time to cure their faulty syntax. But alas, a perusal of the Journal and Barron’s reveals, sadly, that writers continue using the by now hackneyed term, “tech-hungry” investor.

Old habits die hard.


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