I forecasted a good year for tech investing for my Strategic Tech Investor readers.
After the tepid first quarter – a 0.7% contraction in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) – you might think I'd adjust my prediction.
On the contrary, over the following months, I've shown readers how the technology sector has led the market higher and driven the overall U.S. economy.
So far this year, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is up 7%, more than four times better than the Standard & Poor's 500 Index's 1.64% gain.
Plus, as we move further into the year, it looks like that grim first quarter was a "blip" – not the start of trend.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at what caused that blip.
And then I'll show you some numbers that prove we're already bouncing back – and that will boost your tech portfolio for the rest of this year…
Poor Weather, Labor Disputes, and a Strong Dollar
A couple of relatively negative reports from the IMF and the Association for Manufacturing Technology have made some sour on second-half 2015 prospects.
First, in a June 4 report from the International Money Fund, the agency calls on the U.S. Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates until 2016. The reason: IMF officials say the U.S. economy has lost some momentum lately due to the strong dollar and a labor dispute at West Coast ports that slowed down shipping.
In April, the IMF forecast U.S. economic growth this year at 3.1%, but its June 4 report cuts that figure to 2.5%.
Then there's the recent report from the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The trade group says total U.S. tech orders in the first quarter declined 18.7% from the year-ago period to $399.8 million.
However, a closer look at that report indicates that the U.S. economy during the first two months suffered because of terrible weather throughout the nation.
The report doesn't come out and say just it, here's how I figured it out: After two anemic months, March orders soared some 30% from February.
And that's the bad news…
Strong Auto Sales
In May, automakers reported sales that were nothing short of a blowout. According to market researcher Autodata Corp., the industry had an annualized sales pace of a stunning 17.8 million vehicles.
That compares with an average sales rate over the past decade of 15.2 million and, if it holds out, would be the highest sales volume since 2001.
It may seem odd that as a tech analyst I would pay so much attention to auto sales. Of course, the auto industry has for decades played a critical role in the U.S. economy
But there's more to it than that. Vehicles have become rolling showcases of sophisticated technology. The "connected car" features everything from Bluetooth integration and Wi-Fi access to rearview cameras and in-dash infotainment centers.
Meanwhile, to boost sales and make vehicles safer, carmakers are adding advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – that is, self-driving features. I'm talking about such items as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning systems, and front and rear cameras integrated with collision avoidance radar – all of which need software, sensors, and semiconductors.
Then there are the sales numbers at Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA). The company, which makes and markets the best electric vehicles on Earth, has begun unveiling self-driving technology.
May sales for Silicon Valley's only car company were off the charts. For the upscale Model S, sales climbed some 50% from the year-ago period to 1,652 vehicles.
The Brains of the Tech Economy
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.