You’d have never known that I took the whole winter off from trap shooting.
After a five-month break, I came right back and had my best scores ever – 99 out of 100 with 82 straight hits.
This is no mean feat. After all, trap shooting is a shotgun sport where you have to hit a target the size of a compact disc that flies away from you at oblique angles at about 45 miles per hour.
And yet… that’s pretty much what Congress and the Trump administration are trying to do.
Here’s the thing.
The president and members of both parties in the House of Representatives want to investigate Big Tech for alleged antitrust problems.
Today, I’m going to show you why this is a terrible idea.
And I’ll also show you a great tech-related investment that will power right through all these concerns…
Check it out…
Why the Big Tech Backlash Is Backward
I believe the federal tech backlash we are seeing at present really has no basis in fact. It’s the triumph of rhetoric over reason.
Indeed, when I recently appeared as a guest on the popular FOX Business Network’s TV show, “Cavuto: Coast to Coast”, I made that very same point.
I told host Neil Cavuto that federal officials want to punish large tech firms for being successful.
Here’s where I am coming from on this. No one in the administration, nor Congress for that matter, can tell us how “big” is “too big.” I hear people throwing around the word “monopoly”, but from what I can tell, they don’t know what the word means.
It would be one thing if Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) controlled the Internet, but clearly it does not. Yes, it’s the largest online social network. But there are dozens more like it, including Kik, Friendster, Myspace, and Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR).
Critics also lambast firms like Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) for being “anticompetitive.”
But again, they just don’t know what they’re talking about.
Let’s focus on Amazon as a paradigm for all of this. This e-commerce leader actually fosters competition and trade.
It has a relationship with Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), where Shopify enables thousands of firms all over the United States to sell their goods right from Amazon’s site.
I buy products like this all the time in which the goods are not technically sold by Amazon. Instead, Amazon does the fulfillment even at Prime speeds.
At heart, Amazon these days is not an e-commerce company per se. It’s an online marketplace.
But remember, Amazon faces competition from a host of retail companies like Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT).
Online competition is brutal because of the rise of specialty firms. I’m talking companies like health food leader Vitacost, or specialty electronics retailer Crutchfield Corp., furniture firm Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W), and the hand goods emporium Etsy Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY), not to mention eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY)‘s huge emporium.
Of course, every major retailer from Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) to Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) now sells their goods online, as well as through smart phones.
And would one of those federal geniuses please riddle me this: If Amazon is really restraining trade, then why did its major competitor, Walmart, just crush its first-quarter earnings?
News flash for Washington – Walmart said e-commerce sales in the quarter rose by 37%.
Therein lies the challenge for what I call the “New Age Trust Busters”. These are misguided politicians and regulators who can’t seem to explain why Amazon’s antitrust practices are allowing competitors to improve sales.
Amazon Web Services used to own the cloud computing market. But today, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is coming on strong by… you guessed it … increasing sales.
Microsoft has gone from basically zero cloud sales five years ago to a run rate these days of roughly $40 billion a year.
That’s some monopoly Amazon has built…
Same story for Google as a search engine. Microsoft saw an opening and launched Bing almost exactly 10 years ago.
I use it seven days a week as my search engine and browser home page. And I’m far from alone. Comscore says Bing now has a 24.9% market share followed by Verizon at 11.6%.
That’s pretty impressive for Microsoft when you consider there are at least two dozen search engines out there.
It’s not Google’s fault that it grew so popular the firm’s name became a verb. But again, no one is holding a gun to your head and making you use Google.
A moment ago, I mentioned that Microsoft is giving both Google and Amazon a big run for their money. This is much more important than it might sound at first.
I say that because Microsoft is no stranger to federal crackdowns on anticompetitive practices. It fought the federal government antitrust case for a decade. It was ordered to split in two but appealed the case and won.
And just before the market’s recent retreat, it briefly touched a $1 trillion market cap, turning from a laggard to a big market leader once again.
Add it all up and you can see why I believe at this point not much will happen to break up big tech firms.
There is no metric on how big “too big” is. Plus, the companies have lots of data on their side to prove the trust busters wrong.
Having said all that, I do have an investment for you that should power right through all this talk of antitrust and monopolies.
A Recommendation with Upside
It’s the iShares Russell 2000 Growth Index ETF (NYSE: IWO). Composed of 1,230 stocks geared around small caps with a lot of upside, the fund invests heavily in high tech and the life sciences – its top two categories.
Strictly speaking, this is not a pure play on tech. But in this case, that’s a good thing. It gives us strong exposure to tech and healthcare but with instant diversification.
It’s also been a strong performer of late. That’s actually a good testimonial right there considering that small caps came under heavy pressure a few weeks ago on fears of slowing economic growth.
But since the market rebounded from last year’s big sell-off on Dec. 24, IWO is actually beating the S&P 500 by roughly 10%.
I believe this is a great, balanced portfolio that gives you broad access to high-octane firms without the volatility that often comes with individual small caps.
Even better, by definition, none of these 1,230 companies are likely to be accused of being too big or anticompetitive.
In other words, with this play, you can build your net worth without worry that Washington will clip the value of your investment by shooting blindly in the dark.
— Michael A. Robinson