Tech Stocks Show Weakness Amid Uncertain Global Economy

Tech stocks fell sharply on Friday, setting a somber mood for the industry this weekend.

The carnage was widespread, with giants taking a stumble — Microsoft, -3.97%; Google, 2.92%; Facebook, -3.95%; LinkedIn, -3.84%; Yahoo, -3.65%; and Alibaba, -3.28% — and newcomers joining in the general mayhem. MobileIron fell 6.92%. ZenDesk was off 8.06%. GoPro dropped 4.63%, Twitter fell 8.84%, And Arista Networks shed 8.96%. (Data: Google Finance.)

If you were holding tech stocks on Friday morning, and didn’t sell, you were far less wealthy by the end of the day. As BusinessInsider noted earlier today, the NASDAQ lost over 4% last week, a sharp contraction.

Given the breadth and depth of the Friday selloff in the industry, it’s worth asking where we stand. If the shedding continues, it could at least partially close the IPO window, and sour incumbents on expensive acquisitions as their equity declines in value, and, therefore, potency. Diminishments of that sort could rattle down the capital structure of private investment, causing an industry-wide slowdown.

You already know this, but in the context of Friday’s massacre the fact becomes all the more salient.

Recent downward revisions of economic forecasts could lessen the medium-term potential of a hawkish Fed. That could help keep money cheap, assisting venture capitalists and startups to raise easily. But if the Fed is only holding back because the global and domestic economy are weak, how bullish is that, really.

Not very.

It has become fashionable in the past few weeks to declare that the sky and roof are falling. That’s still not true in the short term. But if the above losses are not recouped, and especially if they are furthered, we could see the first part of the correction that is largely expected. If you are a startup that is raising, I’d get along with it. And if you are contemplating taking up your burn, you might want to reconsider.

In 2013, a company that lost $29 million on revenue of $14 million was worth $700 million1. I am not sure that market is still with us.

1. The implied GAAP operating margin here is what, -207%?