Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

For a new class of tech companies that help businesses tie together disparate reams of data, Friday’s selloff presented a sort of painful irony.

None more so than Tableau Software , whose stated mission is to help business customers “see and understand data.”

The company lost half its market value by the closing bell, after it trimmed its forecast for the year by less than 2% at the midpoint. In a conference call, Tableau executives cited “some softness in spending” that warranted a more cautious view for the year.

Such a selloff may seem a stretch for such an incremental change. But investors exposed to new, richly-valued software firms are ultra-sensitive to signs of a slowdown in business spending. ServiceNow, which provides cloud-based software services to business, is down 30% since its own results and forecast fell short of expectations last week.

Walter Pritchard of Citigroup notes that the results from Tableau and ServiceNow make it “difficult to refute the view that the IT spending environment has become more challenging.”

That’s proven painful to other stocks tied to cloud and “big data” themes. Splunk lost nearly one-quarter of its value on Friday, while Hortonworks fell by 17% Stocks on the BVP Cloud Index closed the day with an average loss of 9% — nearly triple the Nasdaq ’s rout for the day.

Momentum stocks are great – until the day they lose it.


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