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Tech stocks could help U.S. markets end higher in 2019

Several information technology stocks have been “unfairly” hammered by investors in the recent sell-off in the U.S., but those companies are key to lifting overall sentiment on Wall Street in 2019, according to online brokerage TD Ameritrade Asia.

“I think tech is going to drive the overall sentiment higher,” Christopher Brankin, CEO of TD Ameritrade Asia, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

“Basically all stocks over the last quarter, especially December, have been absolutely hammered and I think some of them unfairly. We’ve seen some of these stocks across the FAANG, some of the semiconductors, they’re down … just in the month of December,” he added.

FAANG refers to stocks of Silicon Valley tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet.

Tech stocks have historically been the biggest losers when the S&P 500 falls more than 10 percent, according to a CNBC analysis using data from Kensho.

Wall Street has seen some big stock movements this week. U.S. shares on Wednesday recorded their best day in nearly a decade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its largest one-day point gain in history. That followed a sharp sell-off on Monday that saw the S&P 500 falling into bear market territory. U.S. markets were closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

Several investors and analysts have predicted a tougher time ahead for stocks, with an expected slowdown in economic growth and interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve weighing on sentiment. But Brankin said 2019 could still be a good year for the stock market.

“I kind of discount what’s going on this week as a bunch of choppiness and really see what’s going to happen in the first few weeks of the year for overall customer sentiment,” the CEO said.

He added that developments that have a “positive influence,” such as an improvement in demand for chips, will “help the overall information technology sector, which is a really big part of the overall market.”

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