BNPL gets battered after another US inflation fright
It’s been another rough morning for high-growth tech, as markets react to an unexpected inflation print in the US overnight.
Monthly core inflation rose by 0.9 per cent which flowed through to an annualised rate of 4.2pc — the highest level since 2008.
A jump was expected due to the comparative slump at the same time last year, but the important thing was that both monthly and annual figures were well above analyst expectations.
If inflation rises quicker than expected, the outlook for interest rates may also change.
And based on the stock market’s reaction, that’s prompted a re-rating of valuations for high-growth tech stocks.
The tech-focused Nasdaq index slumped by another 2.6 per cent overnight. Where the Nasdaq goes, BNPL stocks usually follow. Here’s the price action for the big names this morning:
BNPL losses were worse at the opening bell, and the sector has clawed back some ground into midday trade.
Reflecting the scale of the selloff, the last time Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed below $85 was on October 7.
It started May at $117.65, a possible indicator that investors have been pricing for rising inflation for some time now.
Subsequently, he repositioned his portfolio for the ‘reopening trade’ tied to commodity strength, rather than tech stocks with valuations based on revenue multiples.
Earlier this week, investor Ron Shamgar told us how he’s navigating the structural shift, and highlighted some under-the-radar tech stocks which have attributes (like actual profits, or different post-COVID tailwinds) that could see them outperform in a higher inflation environment.
As for CPI growth, it will continue to be a huge topic of interest in the coming months.
Central banks have flagged that inflation is coming, although they currently believe that sharp spikes through the middle of the year will prove transitory.
But if inflation prints continue to beat expectations through June and July, it remains to be seen whether markets will take the same view.