Global equity funds dedicated to technology stocks took in another $673m in the week ending July 18 — the 12th straight week of inflows, bringing the total for 2018 to $20.3bn, according to EPFR.
That eclipses the $18.3bn raised in 2017 as a whole, which was a record for a calendar year.
The strong appetite for technology funds reflects the fact that it has been the best performing sector worldwide both this year and last.
The S&P 500’s technology index has gained 15.3 per cent so far in 2018, compared with the broader market’s 4.9 per cent gain. Without the inclusion of technology stocks and Amazon, which is classified as a retailer, the US stock market would be down for the year.
The market gains come as fears rise over a trade war and the US government’s tariffs on goods from some of its biggest trade partners. Tech company growth rates are considered relatively resilient to escalating tensions.
“Technology continues to grow in popularity, partly because it is seen as somewhat invulnerable to trade tensions,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “It is also one of the few areas were people are still seeing strong growth in the middle of what has been a pretty mediocre year.”
The so-called Faang stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google’s parent company Alphabet — have dominated the rally.
Asian technology stocks have also enjoyed strong gains in recent years.
China’s Tencent has dropped more than 7 per cent this year, but Baidu and Alibaba — the three are often grouped together as the “Bats” — are up 12 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively in 2018.
The New York Stock Exchange’s Fang+ index, which includes a mix of US and Chinese tech companies, has climbed more than 32 per cent this year.
However, some investors think the rally in “Big Tech” shares is overdone. Betting on the Faangs in the US and China’s Bats has been identified as the most crowded trade for sixth months running in an investors survey conducted by Bank of America.
It was judged the most overextended trade since the long-dollar trade of late 2015.
“There’s always a concern that investors are getting sucked in at the wrong time, but today’s technology sector is very different from that of the technology bubble 20 years ago,” Ms Hooper said.