Investors piling into stocks with artificial intelligence exposure may pay a hefty price.
Economist David Rosenberg, a bear known for his contrarian views, believes enthusiasm surrounding AI has become a major distraction from recession risks.
“No question that we have a price bubble,” the Rosenberg Research president told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Thursday.
According to Rosenberg, the AI surge has striking similarities to the late 1990s dot-com boom —particularly when it comes to the Nasdaq 100 breakout over the past six months.
“[This] looks very weird,” said Rosenberg, who served as Merrill Lynch’s chief North American economist from 2002 to 2009. “It’s way overextended.”
This week, Nvidia’s blowout quarter helped drive AI excitement to new levels. The chipmaker boosted its yearly forecast after delivering a strong quarterly earnings beat after Wednesday’s market close. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang cited booming demand for its AI chips.
Nvidia stock gained more than 24% after the report and is now up 133% over the last six months. AI competitors Alphabet, Microsoft and Palantir are also seeing a stock surge.
In a recent note to clients, Rosenberg warned the rally is on borrowed time.
“There are breadth measures for the S&P 500 that are the worst since 1999. Just seven mega-caps have accounted for 90% of this year’s price performance,” Rosenberg wrote. You look at the tech weighting in the S&P 500 and it is up to 27%, where it was heading into 2000 as the dotcom bubble was peaking out and soon to roll over in spectacular fashion.
While mega cap tech outperforms, Rosenberg sees ominous trading activity in banks, consumer discretionary stocks and transports.
“They have the highest torque to GDP. They’re down more than 30% from the cycle highs,” Rosenberg said. “They’re actually behaving in the exact same pattern they have going into the past four recessions.”