While the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 is up 24% over the past year, it’s only up 3.7% year to date.
Sure, it’s outperforming the S&P 500 in 2018, but when you look at the chart, you can see it hasn’t been a steady journey by any means.
Volatility is back, and given the state of affairs in Washington and some of the things going on around the world, volatility is likely to increase rather than decrease in coming months.
What’s more, the beloved tech sector is going through its own changes. Everything from major chip companies to up-and-coming cloud companies are getting their comeuppance after a couple years of strong growth.
So, in a time of rising risk, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you 10 tech stocks that aren’t worth the risk, especially right now. Most of these firms are on the smaller end of the tech sector and while they have potential, now isn’t the time to be looking for them to make a run to greatness.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Network-1 (NTIP)
Network-1 Technologies Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:NTIP) has a market cap of $65 million, so it isn’t a game changer at this point. And from the looks of things, it may not get the opportunity to even try its hand becoming a force.
Its specialty is protecting intellectual property assets. Granted this is huge deal in the tech sector where knowledge is almost as important as products. If you don’t have the ability to keep your new tech ideas out of the hands of competitors, you don’t have a chance.
Most of NTIP’s IP portfolio deals with networks and Quality of Service (QoS) patents for delivering content over the internet.
It’s off 42% in the past year, but there’s no reason to go bargain hunting now.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Black Box (BBOX)
Black Box Corporation (NASDAQ:BBOX) has been around since 1976, so it has seen the growth in the IT infrastructure sector.
And that may be its biggest challenge. Now there are scores of companies that do what it does, and as with most of this electronics-focused business, much of the hardware is basically commoditized after a while. That means margins get slimmer and slimmer.
If you don’t have something really unique that you can charge a premium for, you are constantly competing on price. And that isn’t good when you don’t have a very big footprint.
It’s off 80% in the past year. Don’t try to catch this falling knife.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Leju Holdings (LEJU)
Leju Holdings Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:LEJU) has gotten some attention over the years because it’s one of China’s largest online and offline real estate companies.
When real estate was hot in China, and the tech firms were rolling out like donuts off a Krispy Kreme line, LEJU was one of the speculative darlings that were getting a fair amount of attention in the U.S.
It still has a $149 million market cap, which isn’t huge, but is decent for a tech start-up.
However, the real estate boom is China has cooled and the government is looking to keep things on the cool side moving forward until it can sort out the strength of the recovery. LEJU is off 65% in the past year as a result.
There are plenty of better ideas out there now to take advantage of China’s long-term growth.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Perion (PERI)
Perion Network Ltd (NASDAQ:PERI) is an Israel-based company that has lost 58% in the past year.
Some of that has to do with internal issues in Israel on the political and economic fronts, but it also has to do with the constant flux of the sector it’s in — digital media advertising.
Most of its work is in the U.S., Europe and other international markets, but digital advertising is still a challenging space. There are so many channels and technologies are changing so rapidly that it’s tough to stay relevant. On the other hand, to find the balance between the familiar and the new and different is also difficult.
Long term, the hope here may be that a bigger firm buys them out.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Aware (AWRE)
Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ:AWRE) is biometrics software company based outside of Boston.
Biometrics is one of the hot new sectors now. Just look at you smartphone — most are now sporting fingerprint recognition or facial recognition software. That’s the heart of biometrics.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you can bypass security and check in with a retinal scan. Soon this security will be commonplace on houses and offices, even vehicles.
AWRE has also been in this game since the mid-1980s, so it’s no johnny-come-lately.
However, bigger players, especially in the defense and homeland security sector, are tough competitors on quality and volume, so it isn’t just about being in the right sector.
Off nearly 12% in the past year, there’s better upside elsewhere.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Takung (TKAT)
Takung Art Co Ltd (NYSEAMERICAN:TKAT) looked like it was on to something when it launched. It built an online platform for artists, art dealers and art investors from around the world to display their art and also to sell it.
Given the fact that many Chinese have become wealthy over the past couple decades and it’s difficult to move money out of the country, one smart store of wealth is a hard asset like art.
The problem now is, the free-wheeling days of the Chinese economy are slowing and much of the growth is being driving by an expanding middle class that isn’t particularly interested in fine art.
TKAT is off 41% from its IPO in 2016 and more than 70% in the past year. No masterpiece here.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Manhattan Associated (MANH)
Manhattan Associates Inc (NASDAQ:MANH) is up nearly 150% in the past five years, which is a very respectable run.
However, in the past two years it’s off nearly 30% with about half of that happening in the past year. The trend in MANH’s case, at this point, is not your friend.
The problem is, MANH is an SaaS that specializes in supply chain, inventory and omnichannel management for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. There has been such a cross pollination in recent years regarding the challenges that can be addressed with software systems, that niche firms, or firms that could do one thing well have to pivot.
Some are making that pivot and others are losing ground. None of its sectors are doing well enough to justify its forward P/E of 30.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Edgewater (EDGW)
Edgewater Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:EDGW) had a good run during the dotcom bubble.
It was a leading strategic consulting group that engaged in helping businesses integrate technology solutions into their corporate processes. As the digital age began, this was an industry with huge potential because there was enormous need.
Nowadays, not so much.
And that’s reflected in its stock price. The stock is off 56% since its IPO in 1996. The S&P 500 is up almost 280% over the same timeframe. In the past year, EDGW is off 25%.
It’s going to be a tough road back from here.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: RealNetworks (RNWK)
RealNetworks Inc (NASDAQ:RNWK) is the company that launched RealPlayer, a digital music service, back in the bygone dotcom era.
And it had a quite a run back then.
But the music and media business has been challenging, with new players gaining attention of younger listeners, and new platforms leapfrogging over older ones as Gen Zs choose new options.
To its credit, RNWK has stayed in the game, adapting to new technologies and finding ways to remain relevant in the cloud, with messaging and mobile. But the stock continues to wither, off 22% in the past year, and that’s after a continued slide over the years.
It lost its traction years ago and can’t seem to get it back.
Tech Stocks to Avoid: Broadvision (BVSN)
BroadVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:BVSN) is another company that got its start in the heady days of the late 1990s. Launched in 1993, its first ecommerce product went on sale in 1995 and it IPO’d in 1996.
After surviving the great bubble burst, BVSN expanded into China with new SaaS products in 2006 and was already upping its cloud game by 2010.
It continues to develop new products but the problem is, it never really found its niche over the years. Now it is just one more SaaS firm with one unique product. This is a tough sell now that SaaS solutions are common and the market is well populated.
Off 50% in the past year, it may not be the end for BVSN, but the road back is going to be tough.
Louis Navellier is a renowned growth investor. He is the editor of five investing newsletters: Blue Chip Growth, Emerging Growth, Ultimate Growth, Family Trust and Platinum Growth. His most popular service, Blue Chip Growth, has a track record of beating the market 3:1 over the last 14 years. He uses a combination of quantitative and fundamental analysis to identify market-beating stocks. Mr. Navellier has made his proven formula accessible to investors via his free, online stock rating tool, PortfolioGrader.com. Louis Navellier may hold some of the aforementioned securities in one or more of his newsletters.