What happened

Last week's tech sell-off picked up where it left off on Tuesday, with DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU), CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWD), and Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) resuming their respective declines. All three stocks tumbled more than 5% early this morning, and DocuSign shares remain down 2.7% as of 12:05 p.m. EDT, while Zoom is down 2.8%.

But CrowdStrike is now up 2%.

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Why did all three stocks sink this morning, and why is one of them turning around? The first question is easier to answer than the second.

Shares of DocuSign and Zoom Video are up 260% and 360%, respectively, over the past year. While CrowdStrike is up "only" 75%, all three stocks have vastly outperformed the broader S&P 500, owing to their far faster-than-average growth rates. Last quarter alone, CrowdStrike's sales improved 84% year over year, while DocuSign posted 45% growth and Zoom's sales zoomed 355%.

Over the weekend, though, Barron's warned that despite the impressive sales growth, Zoom Video stock, which sells for 196 times forward earnings, simply "has to come down to earth." Hearing that, investors probably extrapolated that Street professionals may be getting similarly skeptical of DocuSign's valuation (555 times forward earnings) and CrowdStrike's as well. (With no earnings this year, none projected for next year, and indeed, no profits likely before 2023 according to analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, CrowdStrike has no forward P/E.)  

Now what

Profitless CrowdStrike's sudden reversal in fortunes, however, and its 2% share price gain today, suggest that investors may be betting that CrowdStrike at least has less to lose than its fellow tech stocks.

Moreover -- and more broadly -- it may suggest investors are once again prepared to reward tech stocks for beating earnings estimates. CrowdStrike may be the only one of these three tech stocks rising today, but its revival may also foreshadow better days ahead for its peers.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.