Tech stocks close out first six-week rally since January 2020

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Tech stocks on display at the Nasdaq.
Peter Kramer | CNBC

Tech stocks still haven’t fully rebounded from a miserable 2022, but they’re rewarding investors who saw the selloff as too extreme.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 2% this week, wrapping up the sixth straight weekly rally for the tech-heavy index. It’s the longest such stretch since January 2020, before the Covid pandemic hit the U.S.

Stocks across the board got a big boost on Friday after a strong jobs report for May and the Senate’s passage of a debt ceiling bill Thursday night, which allowed the U.S. to avert default. President Biden still has to sign the bill.

While last week’s gains were spurred by Nvidia’s earnings report and a surge in optimism around demand for technologies powering artificial intelligence workloads, this week didn’t see any notable news in the mega-cap group. But there was continued upward momentum.

Among the most-valuable Nasdaq companies, Tesla led the way, with an 11% increase for the week. Shares of the electric vehicle maker are now up 74% for the year after losing roughly two-thirds of their value in 2022.

Tesla and Nvidia, which has climbed 169% this year, have helped pull the Nasdaq up 27% in 2023, far outpacing the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. After peaking in late 2021, the Nasdaq plummeted 33% last year, its steepest drop since the financial crisis, on concerns surrounding inflation and rising interest rates. The index is still about 18% off its all-time high.

“I’m focusing on mega-cap tech here and semiconductors as well,” said Danielle Shay, vice president of options at Simpler Trading, in an interview on CNBC’s “The Exchange” on Friday. “The A.I. trade has been absolutely phenomenal.”

In the cloud software corner of tech, some earnings reports are still providing a boost.

MongoDB, the developer of a cloud-based database, jumped 33% for the week. The company on Thursday reported earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its guidance for fiscal 2024.

On MongoDB’s earnings call, CEO Dev Ittycheria said his company’s products are seeing increased usage as clients look for efficiencies and cut costs.

“It’s clear customers continue to scrutinize their technology investments and must decide which technologies are a must-have, versus merely nice to have,” he said.

Cybersecurity vendor SentinelOne and software developer PagerDuty experienced the flipside of the equation.

SentinelOne plunged 35% for the week after the company lowered its guidance and announced layoffs. Finance Chief David Bernhardt said on SentinelOne’s earnings call that large customers have been using the technology less and that, due to the “current macro environment, we expect these lower usage and consumption trends to persist.”

PagerDuty dropped 14% this week. The provider of technology that helps IT departments respond to incidents slashed its forecast for the year “in anticipation of continued pressure” at small and medium-sized businesses, CFO Howard Wilson said on the call.

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