Tech companies are now like utilities. It's only a matter of time before they're regulated like ones. Photo: iStock

Asia Unhedged trashed the tech sector back on May 12, under the headline, “Tech companies have become a drag on economic growth.” We wrote:

“The stock market’s so-called Fear Index, the VIX gauge of implied volatility on S&P index options, traded this week at its all-time low of around 9.75%. Only on a couple of occasions during the past 30 years has VIX dipped this low, and commentators are puzzled by the apparent expectation of market stasis, despite the uncertainty of a new administration, the vagaries of Fed policy, and the worrying fact that US stocks are priced to perfection.

There’s a simple answer to the riddle: It isn’t the same market. Once upon a time the US stock market had disruptive challengers changing the economic landscape — Apple, Google, Cisco, Intel and a half dozen other upstarts. The same companies are there, but they have morphed from the equivalent of Luke Skywalker to Jabba the Hut. Tech companies used to be aggressive growth stocks, the kind that young people bought for long-range gain, while retirees stuck to less-volatile instruments like utility stocks.”

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