SINGAPORE (Feb 19): As volatility in global equity markets extends into the second week, there is plenty of anxiety to spread around. According to Bloomberg, some US$23.8 billion ($31.5 billion) was pulled from equity funds, the bulk from exchange-traded funds (ETFs), from Feb 1 to 7 alone. That was one of the largest weekly outflows on record.

Valuations are back in focus, something that investors have largely turned a blind eye to as long as markets were rallying. Yes, the economy is humming along, consumer and business confidence is high and corporate earnings are beating expectations. But share prices have run ahead of underlying fundamentals, lifting benchmark indices to record after record highs — levels that are, even now, still above their long-term averages.

One of the most vulnerable sectors in this current selloff has been technology, the darling for so many investors for so long and among the most expensively priced stocks, at least in price-to-earnings (PE) terms.

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