The tech market saw a poor 2022. While it continues to represent one of the most popular investment sectors on the market, the industry shaved $4.6 trillion in market capitalization throughout the year. There were thousands of tech employees who suffered from the rampant layoffs throughout the year. And it seems this rout is only getting started.
As the most volatile of the major investment sectors, tech experienced the most amplified effect of the macroeconomic fears plaguing the global economy. War, rising interest rates, wage stagnation, quantitative tightening and other Federal Reserve policies have had a particularly bearish effect on the tech market. This year, these effects are continuing to permeate big tech; a recent round of layoffs saw tens of thousands of employees booted from even the largest tech giants — Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and onward.
While the tech market cannibalizes itself in an effort to weather a storm of indeterminate length, there’s logic in looking into paring down one’s portfolio. Analysts aren’t high on the outlook for these stocks in the next year, either, with sales stagnation likely to remain for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, here are some of the tech stocks to sell from one’s portfolio:
- Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META)
- Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN)
- Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM)
- DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU)
- Snap (NYSE:SNAP)
- Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD)
- Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)
- Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD)
- Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA)
- JD.com (NASDAQ:JD)
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU)
- QuantumScape (NYSE:QS)
- Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON)
- Mullen Automotive (NASDAQ:MULN)
- Stronghold Digital (NASDAQ:SDIG)
- Greenidge Generation (NASDAQ:GREE)
- Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:RIOT)
- ContextLogic (NASDAQ:WISH)
- Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX)
- PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL)
- Paysafe (NYSE:PSFE)
- Shopify (NYSE:SHOP)
- Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM)
- Block (NYSE:SQ)
Tech Stocks to Sell: Meta Platforms (META)
Unlike some Chinese tech companies, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) may not die exactly. But its business model does have some serious questions to address. The company’s pivot to the metaverse is proving costly — and not nearly as effective as Meta is willing to admit. With plans to continue this venture forward, though, one can expect META stock to remain on the skids for quarters to come.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making a large (and quite risky) bet on the metaverse taking off. The immersive digital space took off in popularity during the pandemic, with a grip of metaverse crypto projects surging in popularity. Meta Platforms had obviously taken notice, putting way more stock into its Reality Labs project as a result. However, the timing of this pivot has been questioned. Top executives at the company are remaining steadfast in their commitment to new technologies. Though, it’s obviously taking a toll; the company’s ad revenue has seen a notable decline, and 11,000 employees are being canned.
The Reality Labs segment of the company has brought on $3.7 billion in losses through the third quarter of 2022. Obviously, the business shift has brought on many of its own fiscal turmoils in addition to macroeconomic ones. Zuckerberg is fully expecting the company to continue bleeding, as he mentioned in the company’s Q3 report. However, since then, he has tried to significantly downplay the company’s focus on metaverse technology.
Right around the time of its Meta Platforms rebrand, this company was at its highest peak ever. Its market capitalization exceeded $1 trillion. But the shape of the company now as compared to then is night and day. META has shaved over $600 billion in value since its peak.
If you really believe in Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision, more power to you. But it seems that this tech giant may be flying much too close to the sun with its current venture. And it’s doing so at the worst possible time.
Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) is the first crypto exchange ever sold on Wall Street. But does being a first-ever really justify holding COIN stock? The company has been rocked by the effects of the FTX meltdown. It faces an SEC investigation over its staking product. And beyond all of this, it will be forced to choose between its investors and the greater good of blockchain — a choice in which nobody will win.
Blockchain cybersecurity company CertiK wrote up a report on the Ethereum (ETH-USD) Merge — one of the biggest upgrades in the history of blockchain. The upgrade has displaced the power structure of the world’s largest layer-1 dapp network, taking the power from ETH miners and putting it in the hands of ETH stakers. This centralization of power could be a real problem for Ethereum. Coinbase, as one of the world’s largest ETH stakers, could have drastic effects if the network starts censoring blocks to comply with U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations. CEO Brian Armstrong has said he would shut down Coinbase staking entirely if asked by the U.S. government to censor transactions.
Beyond these philosophical ponderings, there’s a slew of other issues plaguing the company. Its staking venture is facing a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for example. The implosion of competitor FTX, too, has been a detriment to COIN stock, with investors and regulators becoming less trusting in centralized exchanges as a whole.
Will the network shut down its uber-lucrative staking venture? Does it ruin its credibility in the crypto world by complying? Will the SEC have a say in any of these matters? There are just too many questions up in the air about the future of the company. As such, off-loading COIN stock is a safe bet.
Tech Stocks to Sell: Zoom and DocuSign (ZM, DOCU)
Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) and DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) were toted as heroes through the worst of the pandemic years. When Covid-19 spread globally, these companies helped usher in remote work for millions. However, they are now both threatened as the competition among remote work applications because tougher. And with more workers turning away from the home desktop and heading back into the office, ZM and DOCU stock are two tech stocks to sell.
In the first months of the pandemic, Zoom posted a 170% year-over-year (YOY) revenue increase. By the end of the first full quarter during the pandemic, it saw a YOY increase of more than 350%. The disaster couldn’t have been a better moment for the company, thrusting it upward in notoriety and making it a household name. In the meantime, DOCU stock saw a large uptick in price, topping out at over $300 in 2021.
The good times aren’t going to roll forever, however. The time when these platforms were most needed is in the rearview. Businesses are trying en masse to get employees into either hybrid work models or full returns to the office. Whether or not they prove successful is a different story for now. Still, ZM stock is down 55% year-to-date (YTD). DOCU is down 70% over the same period.
And beyond the large shift among employers back toward in-office productivity, there’s new competition to be had. ZM stock has just seen a downgrade by analysts for exactly this reason. Startups are cropping up left and right with their own take on remote work, meaning Zoom will have a harder time than ever in retaining its dominance. DocuSign, meanwhile, has been suffering its own strife as legacy tech companies like Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) challenge their own niche. In September, DocuSign laid off 9% of its staff and downgraded its office space.
Snap (NYSE:SNAP) has its place in the hierarchy of social media stocks, but it’s on the decline. A victim of the expedition of trend cycles, it looks like the stock’s once-reliable users are pivoting toward other platforms. Meanwhile, the company’s own efforts to bring in new revenue streams have proven less than successful.
The company behind Snapchat has been desperately working to get away from its nearly full reliance on advertising dollars for revenue. This desire has been amplified even more as advertiser budgets continue to pare down. Snap has tried and failed over the years to put out successful hardware products, including three lines of camera-enabled glasses and a recently scrapped drone. However, all have underwhelmed both customers and investors.
These attempts to diversify come atop cost-cutting efforts like the closing of its San Francisco office. Indeed, the company appears to be on the skids. Even while the Snapchat app sees continued growth of new users, the company acknowledges the challenges of competing with newer competitors like TikTok for advertisers. So too do analysts, which has led to firms like JMP Group downgrading SNAP stock. The company credits competitors TikTok and YouTube’s short-video innovations for taking away from Snap’s monetizable assets in the long term.
Snap’s most recent earnings report, though making good on revenue projections, preceded a 25% dip in the share price as Snap still voiced concerns for the future. JMP has also criticized Snap for remaining “too optimistic” in its revenue expectations, a surprise after hearing the company acknowledge turmoil to come. Now seems like a fine time to cut your losses if you own SNAP stock.
Tech Stocks to Sell: Robinhood (HOOD)
Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) is a retail investor’s best friend — and a meme stock investor’s worst nightmare. But it is now facing some macro problems. For example, how will the retail trader-oriented platform fare as investors continue to leave amid a bear market? The company saw a volatile 2022, punctuated by an all-time bottom. Moreover, HOOD stock is plagued by uncertainty as a sizable HOOD stock stake gets repossessed by the U.S. government.
This company may have revolutionized the way people buy and sell stocks, but that doesn’t mean Robinhood isn’t beholden to the market it provides access. In fact, when the bear market rears its head, Robinhood’s user base is the first to react. Given the company’s reliance on amateur retail investors, it is also beholden to the behavior of amateur investors. When the market turned unfavorable in 2022, the platform lost nearly 7 million annual users. This has fueled the same budget-cutting moves many of the other tech companies on this list suffered. Over the last summer, the company laid off nearly a quarter of its staff after an exodus of users.
Robinhood has done well through 2021’s strong period of speculative investing, but there’s reason to believe the company’s revenue will stay on the decline for the foreseeable future. Some analysts predict another earnings miss on the horizon. Investors will get to find out at Robinhood’s Feb. 8 earnings report for fiscal year 2022.
All the while, the only news following Robinhood through the last several months has been its obviously controversial association with FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried. Bankman-Fried had illicitly borrowed from one of his companies to invest in a 7.6% stake in Robinhood. These shares, worth over $460 million, have been seized by the U.S. government. Robinhood’s CEOs say they are uncertain about the future of the massive holding, adding to the hazy and bearish outlook for HOOD stock.
AMD, Nvidia, and Intel (NVDA, AMD, INTC)
Chip manufacturers are seeing some light at the end of a long tunnel. Some in the industry see the end to the worst of the supply chain conundrum. However, there are still problems at hand that will keep the market held down. Demand for chips is softening just as the doors for manufacturers seem to be opening up. Chip makers around the world have to reckon with this decline, but these three companies will lose even more as their alliance with China comes to an end.
In the autumn of 2022, President Joe Biden signed an executive order barring Chinese investment in U.S. tech. Shortly after, another order barred chipmakers from exporting chips to China. These moves come amid an escalating “tech war” between the two countries, which are both greatly interested in the applications of advanced chip technologies.
Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) are directly hurt by this news; Nvidia says it expects to take a hit of up to $400 million as a result of the ban. If the relationship between the two countries sours further, too, there could be more robust bans in the future.
Meanwhile, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The most surefire contender for CHIPS Act funding, Intel will need to pull out of all plans to fabricate chips in China if it wants government subsidies. While the money is sweet, the company has to abandon a very sizable market in order to receive it.
China bans aside, there are other phenomena playing heel to these companies. Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM), the world’s largest manufacturer of chips and industry bellwether, says it is preparing for a sharp revenue decline through 2023 as chip demand softens. Of course, if TSM is on the skids, its competitors will be too.
Tech Stocks to Sell: Alibaba, JD.com, and Baidu (BABA, JD, BIDU)
Chinese tech stocks got a real bailout in the last several weeks. The entire Chinese presence on Wall Street has been balancing on a razor’s edge. And while relations between China and the U.S. are seemingly fine right now, the whiplash nature of the two countries’ relationships could change that in a second. These are factors beyond typical economic pressures that make these certainly some tech stocks to sell.
Indeed, these companies suffered the worst of the tech rout, yet they did so with the added pressure of the relationship between the U.S. and China. In 2022, President Biden threw some fuel on the fire after signing an executive order barring Chinese investment in U.S. tech entities. Another order signed shortly after banned the export of U.S. chip technology to China. That latter move comes amid fears that China will use these advanced technologies for military purposes.
Certainly, China won’t take this lying down. Chinese President Xi Jinping has historically kept a tight grip on China’s tech players as well. Around this time last year, he showed a willingness to further scrutinize the presence of these companies in the States. The bearish factor here isn’t to do with any single company’s model or earnings. Instead, it’s the fact that these companies can easily be yanked off Wall Street. Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) — and many other Chinese tech stocks — utilize a loophole to exist on the U.S. market. Essentially, they’ve created shell companies called Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) to skirt China’s ban on foreign investment in its companies.
Some big news in late December allowed investors in these stocks to catch a breath, as China provided U.S. watchdogs with audits of Chinese companies’ financial statements. The new transparency is putting many at ease, and some have even gone so far as to cancel Hong Kong listings, no longer feeling a need to expand with the two entities back on good terms.
It’s a good thing that the U.S. and China are back in collaboration over these companies. However, there’s no guarantee that this dynamic will remain, especially as tensions grow in other markets between the two. These companies have no ally in Joe Biden nor Xi Jinping, the latter of whom is particularly harsh on his country’s businesses. The geopolitical tensions at play are simply too fast-moving for the potential rewards to outweigh all the risks. As Joe Biden and Xi Jinping both respectively increase pressure on these entities, their existences hang by a thread.
QuantumScape (NYSE:QS) is an electric vehicle (EV) battery maker that has shown some promise; investors flocked to QS stock after its initial public offering (IPO) in 2020. However, investors are now easing off the EV market and, as it stands, QuantumScape might be simply too risky to justify holding onto shares.
This company is a leader in solid-state battery technology, a buzz phrase that has managed to drum up plenty of hype. Compared to lithium-ion batteries — the standard for EVs nowadays — solid-state batteries can be much safer. Specifically, they are not prone to the infamous explosion concerns lithium-ion batteries have carried with them over the years.
But, while a promising technology, solid-state batteries are still years away from wide-scale production. They have several cons which make them unfavorable for broad adoption as well — mainly their inability to hold a charge in cold weather. Moreover, supply-chain woes have made it a tall task to reliably come across the raw materials needed for production. QuantumScape is only making these challenges even harder on itself as it develops its own batteries from the ground up, refusing to produce solid-state batteries designed outside of its facilities.
This business model makes the company’s future very uncertain. As it stands now, QS is spending a lot of its secured capital. That may not worry some, but these investors are banking on the company finding funding in the next couple of years. Sure, that’s not an impossible task. However, the EV market is suffering some of the hardest blows during this ongoing bear market and investors are piling out of EV investments. If things stay on their current trajectory, it will take a very brazen investor to inject this struggling company with the cash needed to simply reach production.
Tech Stocks to Sell: Peloton (PTON)
Another success story of the pandemic, Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON) has been able to easily cash in as a gym alternative. The company remains in the spotlight as one of the best home exercise options to this day. However, there are roadblocks ahead for PTON stock, including a slate of new competition to vie against.
The shuttering of gym doors in early 2020 made for the great success at Peloton. Relegated to working out at home, people began to flock to the company’s subscription-based exercise programs and exercise machines. This helped Peloton double profits from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020. That growth continued through 2021 as well; the company posted a record-high $1.2 billion in revenue in Q3 2021.
However, even as subscriptions grow, Peloton is now reckoning with a downturn in revenue. For several quarters now, the company has reported far larger losses per share than analysts have projected. In Q2 2022, it lost a whopping $1.32 per share, far greater than the expected 71 cent loss. If that’s not enough evidence that Peloton is struggling, there’s also the 500 employees fired over the course of 2022.
Fewer people are buying its expensive equipment, and a number of controversies have hampered the business. The company is also reckoning with a new challenge as in-person gyms start to grow back to their pre-pandemic norms. Baird analysts have downgraded PTON stock, citing this revamped competition from gyms. Meanwhile, others are upgrading gym stocks as alternatives to what many see as an overpriced PTON.
Mullen Automotive (MULN)
Mullen Automotive (NASDAQ:MULN) is a meme stock favorite right now and die-hard fans will jump to defend it. MULN stock is cheap and the company shows a bit of promise. However, there are too many factors acting against Mullen which makes it one of the best tech stocks to sell.
MULN might be up 3.5% on the year-to-date, but these gains are paltry in comparison to MULN stock’s 90% downside in the last 12 months. Plus, as InvestorPlace analyst Louis Navellier points out, analysts see only limited upside for shares as Mullen moves into the production stage after positive initial pre-orders.
InvestorPlace writer Eddie Pan has been covering the MULN stock beat for a while, and he’s done a great job at filling investors in on the ways Mullen has been toying with shareholders. The company has landed itself in court following a decision to increase authorized common stock, a move opposed by investors due to dilution concerns. The raise would bring the company’s authorized common stock from 1.75 billion to 5 billion. Analysts have been quick to warn of this massive increase popping the company’s small but devoted bubble of hype.
Other analysts focus less on the short- and medium-term and more on the long-term when it comes to Mullen. But the picture doesn’t seem much prettier. For one, analysts are skeptical whether Mullen’s solid-state batteries will be as revolutionary or effective as the company asserts. Published earlier this year, Hindenburg Research’s scathing deep-dive into Mullen also suggests the company is misleading investors on several fronts. Of course, you could take a bet on Mullen shaping up like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), but it seems more likely to turn out like Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA).
Tech Stocks to Sell: Stronghold Digital, Greenidge Generation, and Riot Platforms (SDIG, GREE, RIOT)
Like Coinbase, these crypto mining stocks — and many others — are flashy buys because they’re so unique. Only after crypto prices ballooned in the last few years did crypto mining stocks become immediately hyper-competitive. But, as is also the case with Coinbase, investing in something unique doesn’t necessarily mean investing in something sound. Current market conditions for crypto don’t exactly make these stocks appealing, either.
First off, crypto miners are almost entirely going after Bitcoin (BTC-USD). This in itself will lead to long-term problems. Of the 21 million total BTC able to exist, there is only 1.8 million — or about 10% — left to mine. Of course, it will take decades before miners are able to do so. However, thanks to Bitcoin halving, the miners who secure each block will receive increasingly smaller rewards as time goes on.
Bitcoin prices are a major factor at play here, too. Mining was much more lucrative in 2021 when BTC prices were at an all-time high. Throughout 2022, though, the mining market’s revenue stream shrank tremendously thanks to the market crash dragging BTC prices down.
Crypto mining difficulty is a whole other beast at odds with the success of these companies. Earlier in the month, the difficulty of mining Bitcoin reached an all-time high. This is great for crypto enthusiasts, sure. It signifies that more and more miners are participating in blockchain hashing. However, for individual companies, it means greater competition. As more and more of these companies are cropping up and individuals host their own Bitcoin mines, the odds of receiving consistent block rewards are also getting smaller.
Meanwhile, these companies face individual challenges which will hamper them through a crypto winter of indeterminable length. Stronghold Digital (NASDAQ:SDIG) is converting much of its debt to preferred stock, diluting its liquidity, and has received a downgrade from analysts after. Greenidge Generation (NASDAQ:GREE), meanwhile, continues to face lawsuits from environmental groups and had its EPA permit denied in 2022. Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:RIOT) recently changed its name to reflect the company’s attempt at diversification but it might already be too late for this crypto miner.
ContextLogic, Stitch Fix (WISH, SFIX)
E-commerce was one of the best bets one could’ve made in 2020. Who knew that online retail therapy was going to be a necessity to keep so many people sane as they stayed indoors? Already a fast-growing market thanks to the ongoing successes and expansion of giants like Amazon, e-commerce exploded during the pandemic. However, investors have to reckon with these cyclical stocks falling to the back burner, where they’re likely to stay for a while. Frankly, consider almost any e-commerce name besides Amazon as one of the tech stocks to sell.
Indeed, the same macro factors playing against many of the stocks on this list are hampering ContextLogic (NASDAQ:WISH) and Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX). Investors are more strapped for cash compared to three years ago with rising interest rates back on the menu. But these aren’t just tech stocks to sell because consumers are buying fewer accessories. Both of these companies have also been navigating rough waters for a while. The bear market could very well just make things worse.
Many of the analysts and contributors at InvestorPlace have already been abundantly clear that WISH stock isn’t a buy. Since its late 2020 initial public offering (IPO), WISH hasn’t been very profitable at all. In fact, the share price has remained largely on the decline since touching the $30 mark in January 2021. For Q2 2022, the company reported revenue of just $134 million, an 80% YOY decline. Analysts don’t predict much better ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings call on Nov. 9.
Stitch Fix is in a similarly stressful situation. SFIX stock is down 73% in the last year, taking an absolute beating as a result of the massive pivot away from speculative investing. Sure, it remains more profitable than ContextLogic, posting $482 million in revenue last quarter. But that was still a 16% YOY decline. As is the case with WISH stock, analysts also expect this tumult to continue for several consecutive quarters at best.
Tech Stocks to Sell: PayPal, Paysafe, and Shopify (PYPL, SHOP, PSFE)
Financial technology companies PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) and Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) remain leaders in this promising niche while Paysafe (NYSE:PSFE) paves its own way. However, the entire fintech market had been in decay throughout 2022, so you can expect this trio to fare poorly, especially as they start to revise their projected earnings.
As is the case with other tech players, fintech companies became a favorite investment during an up period for more volatile investments in 2020. These companies process a huge amount of the world’s e-commerce, too. That means that, like Stitch Fix and ContextLogic, they were big beneficiaries of the online shopping boom of the pandemic.
One might find promise in the surge these stocks are seeing in the first month of 2023. Indeed, all three are trading in the green on the year-to-date, with PSFE rising an eye-watering 40%. However, don’t expect these gains to sustain. SHOP stock’s recent surge was thanks to the company increasing its pricing plans by 33%. This might have investors excited, but it’s foolish to imagine the company retaining its user base after these price hikes as we enter the year at a time when consumers are going to have to significantly taper their spending just to get by. With PaySafe failing to increase its revenue through 2022, its short burst of energy is destined to fizzle out as well.
Slowed consumer spending and market volatility — brought on by the Federal Reserve’s stringent policies — are eating these companies alive. Many are slashing expectations and PayPal, Paysafe and Shopify are each down 50%, 22%, and 42% in the last year. That makes them three good tech stocks to sell from your portfolio.
Affirm and Block (AFRM, SQ)
Of course, if payment processing companies like those above are getting hit hard, so too are Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) stocks like Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM) and Block (NYSE:SQ). Atop unfavorable market conditions, these tech stocks to sell are facing increased regulatory scrutiny.
E-commerce’s rise in popularity, coupled with many Americans being strapped for cash due to furloughs and layoffs, allowed the BNPL concept to take off. The nascent payments plan option exploded in 2022, especially among younger shoppers. Analysts have also made bold projections for the industry, expecting the BNPL market to reach nearly $47 billion in value by 2031.
The excitement of the model’s success has led to investors flocking toward BNPL stocks. It has also led to fintech companies like Block pivoting hard into BNPL; the company spent $14 billion to acquire Afterpay in 2021. But this success also attracted the attention of the government.
These BNPL services are convenient, but they also encourage consumers to spend more than their financial situations may be able to accommodate. As such, they have been framed as predatory, especially toward younger buyers who may not fully understand the implications of BNPL.
Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a probe into BNPL services and explored the risks facing consumers. At the time, this led to a dip in BNPL stocks. In September 2022, the CFPB opened another probe into these companies.
These probes have done well to hamper any excitement in the BNPL space. Analysts and institutions also seem quite disillusioned with the stock recently. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) recently cut its holding in AFRM by almost 30%, according to recent filings. A Block insider also dumped over 30,000 shares of SQ.
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Read More: Penny Stocks — How to Profit Without Getting Scammed
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
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