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Buy these big tech names if the economy slows more, Morgan Stanley says


As the economy braces for a slowdown, these technology stocks could prove a bright spot for investors looking to play the market, Morgan Stanley says. Risks of an economic downturn continue to rise as inflation hovers near record highs and rate hikes from the Federal Reserve are underway for the first time in more than three years. Morgan Stanley is pricing in a 35% probability of a recession, up from a 5% estimate at the beginning of 2022. But in this environment of slowing economic growth, the bank said in a note Wednesday that opportunities exist in many beaten-up Big Tech names. The bank lowered price targets and EBITDA estimates on blue-chip technology names like Amazon , Facebook-parent Meta Platforms and Alphabet , which are trading down 27.9%, 42.4% and 21.5%, respectively, year-to-date. Despite the pullback, the bank expects there’s room for growth. Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook could offer near 32%, 46% and 55% returns, respectively, based on Tuesday’s close and Morgan Stanley’s fresh price targets. The stocks are also trading at 10 times, 12 times and 7 times the bank’s 2023 EBITDA estimates, respectively. “This speaks to how much ‘downturn fear is priced’ in some of our names,” wrote analyst Brian Nowak in a note Wednesday. “We expect investors to return to blue-chip names like these first if/when inflation fears subside and the consumer (hopefully) holds on better than feared.” Even Snapchat’s parent company, which has taken a beating in recent weeks, could bounce back, according to Morgan Stanley. Snap saw its worse day ever in May after saying it would miss its revenue and earnings targets for the quarter. The stock is currently trading down 70% on the year and 83.1% off its 52-week highs. But the social media company could see a 70% upside if it can win back investors through “multiple quarters of consistent execution,” Nowak wrote. The bank also mentioned Pinterest, which has plummeted about 46% since the start of the year and sits 76% off its 52-week high.

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