The stock market has been off to a hot start so far in 2023. All four major U.S. stock indices are higher so far on the year, while the Nasdaq’s 15.75% return is more than double the next-best performer (the S&P 500). Still, there are some stocks that are losing steam and risk underperforming in the weeks and months ahead.
It’s interesting that just seven stocks have driven almost 90% of the gains in the S&P 500 so far this year. Large- and mega-cap tech stocks have been driving those gains and that leaves both risk and opportunity on the table.
The risk is clear. Should Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and a few others falter, it risks bringing down the Nasdaq and S&P 500 in a significant way. On the other hand, the opportunity exists for money to rotate into other stocks and sectors, helping to alleviate the reliance on mega-cap tech.
In any regard, let’s look at three stocks that are losing momentum.
Seemingly everyone’s favorite automaker, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) may be undergoing a difficult balancing act. I don’t know if a recession will hit the U.S., how long it will last or the level of intensity. However, I do know that the automakers will be negatively impacted as a result.
For what it’s worth, I really like the long-term story at Tesla. It continues to expand its production capabilities, has a solid balance sheet and is a leader in EVs. Plus, it has the energy and technology components that other automakers don’t have.
Other automakers and EV stocks have been struggling and it makes me think that after rallying 114% from the early January low to the recent high, Tesla stock could need time to cool off too. In particular, it could be one of the stocks that are losing momentum if the overall market struggles.
Again, I like the long-term potential here and believe that the dip in late 2022/early 2023 was a gift for investors. However, as shares continue to consolidate, short-term investors could face the risk of a notable pullback.
Earnings on April 19 will largely be the deciding factor in the short term.
Like Tesla, I like the long-term story for Disney (NYSE:DIS) — with an emphasis on “long-term.” The company is cutting costs at the moment, but is an entertainment juggernaut. If its cruises, theme parks, studio unit and others businesses weren’t enough, how about several hundred million streaming subscribers?
The issue is that the company’s streaming business is not yet profitable. In the right environment, investors don’t care about profitability — particularly for certain segments, like streaming. They care about growth above all else.
Currently though, investors do care about profitability and as a result, the stock continues to struggle. Specifically, Disney stock continues to struggle with its 200-day and 50-day moving averages, as well as the $100 level. If it can push through this area, perhaps it can continue to rally.
However, if streaming stocks start to get hit and recession worries increase, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Disney stock to lose its recent momentum — up about 11% from the March low — and retest its recent lows.
It’s hard for me to write this about Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) because I am and have been such a long-term supporter of this name. But at some point, there’s a question about how far this stock can run.
Nvidia stock bottomed near $108 in October and recently hit a high near $280, a gain of roughly 160%.
Like the stock, business has been on the mend too. Consensus expectations call for 11% revenue growth this year and almost 25% growth next year. While earnings fell hard last year, analysts expect 33% to 35% earnings growth this year and next year.
The problem? Nvidia is trading at roughly 60 times this year’s earnings. It’s not a cheap stock and the share price has erupted off the lows. Over the long term, a quarter or two is the least of investors’ worries. However, when the stock rallies in 12 out of 13 weeks — and literally doubles in that span — and shares trade at a high valuation in a touch-and-go environment, you’ve got to wonder if there’s downside in the cards.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.