FANG Update: Netflix Continues To Carry The Weight, But…

In our last look at the FANG stocks, individually and collectively, we noted Netflix (NFLX) was the only decided leader that was dishing out trade-worthy progress. Though Facebook (FB) was well ‘up’ at the time, it was only up by virtue of a big post-earnings bump late last month. It wasn’t built to last, and sure enough, it didn’t.

Not much has changed in the meantime. Alphabet (GOOGL) remains wishy washy, and Amazon has actually lost ground. All four FANG names had cleared long-standing technical hurdles, though it’s only been NFLX able to sustain a healthy move into that new bullish groove.

The daily chart of each of these names, plus a comparison to the NASDAQ 100 ETF (QQQ) puts things in perspective. Netflix has now broken above its next technical ceiling at $359.50 (plotted with a blue) dashed line, and is still chugging along.

The relative-performance comparison tells the same story, but from a slightly different vantage point.

There’s a nuance here, however, that’s worth noting even though it doesn’t have a lot to do with FANG stocks. Rather, it’s got everything to do with the other 96 stocks that make up the NASDAQ 100 that aren’t FANG stocks. The QQQ is actually leading all FANG names; it’s plotted in red on both charts.

It’s odd. Large cap, NASDAQ-listed tech stocks are technically leading all the major NASDAQ-minded divisions for the past twelve months, with the group pulling back up to the lead after getting hammered for the better part of last year. It’s possible, as the FANG stocks may be ‘tech-like’ and rely on technology, but aren’t categorized as technology stocks themselves. Indeed, the NASDAQ 100 Tech Sector Index is easily leading the pack, including the NASDAQ 100 (which includes non-tech stocks, of course).

The other curious detail the divergence underscores: Small caps and mid caps in the NASDAQ are distinctly outperforming large caps, are performing about as well as all NASDAQ large caps are, whether or not those large caps are true technology names. Indeed, the only NASDAQ grouping that isn’t doing well are the FANG stocks… which ironically enough, are represented via the NYSE’s FANG Index.

As for the meaning and interpretation, there are a couple of key take-aways here. The first of them is that traders who are ‘long only’ may find better opportunities outside of the FANG names. That’s relatively new.

The bigger take-away is, the market can perform well without relying on leadership from FANG stocks, which had done more than their fair share of heavy lifting up until October of last year.

That’s important, even if it’s a bigger-picture precept. While the backdrop and rhetoric has been seemingly pessimistic – especially as it pertains to tech – the reality of the matter is, investors are seeing enough growth opportunities to not only keep buying tech names, but buy into mid cap and even small cap technology. If traders were thinking bearishly, those are the last places they’d commit money to.

Obviously things can change in an instant. One bad headline about trade, or one scary threat of regulating the internet (which as admittedly the Wild West), could destroy some key technology names, while the unlikely revival of cryptocurrency’s former popularity could light a fire under certain technology names. Anything’s possible.

As it stands right now though, mid and small cap tech names appear to be in the ‘not too hot, not too cold’ zone with some nice momentum behind them. Most FANG names can’t boast the same.