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Shares of Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are soaring while shares of Google parent Alphabet are plunging in the aftermath of a busy week for the tech giants, driven largely by a congressional antitrust hearing.
On the Friday after the tech giants reported quarterly earnings, and just a few days after their top executives faced an interrogation into alleged anti-competitive behaviors, the combined market cap of the tech giants jumped 4% to a whopping $5 trillion from $4.79 trillion.
Despite fielding tough inquiries from lawmakers about questionable acquisition strategies and the potential stifling of competing businesses, the companies came out fairly unscathed, at least from a stock-market perspective. The blowout quarters from Apple, Amazon, and Facebook alleviated investor concerns that the congressional hearing would damage their respective businesses, albeit in the short term.
Consider Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg arguably faced the toughest scrutiny from politicians. The social network’s $18.69 billion in fiscal second quarter earnings easily surpassed analysts’ estimates of $17.4 billion. The earnings led to Facebook shares being up 8.2% by the market’s close on Friday to $253.67, representing a 10% jump from end-of-day trading on Tuesday when the company’s shares were $230.29.
As Debra Aho Williamson, an eMarketer principal analyst, explained in a statement, while Facebook’s online ad business was hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, “the impact was much less than many had expected.” Investors cheered the beat.
Meanwhile, Apple’s sales grew 11% year-over-year to $59.7 billion, which was particularly noteworthy considering analysts believed that the iPhone-maker’s sales would decline 2% year-over-year to $52.6 billion. As a result, Apple shares were up 10.5% by the market’s close on Friday to $425.04, marking a 12.2% jump from end-of-day trading on Tuesday when Apple shares were $373.01. On Friday, Apple topped Saudi Aramco as the world’s most valuable company, Bloomberg News noted, another sign of how the company has thrived so far amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Geoff Blaber, the vice president of research, Americas for CCS Insight, said in a statement that “COVID-19 has demonstrated that Apple is a more diversified and resilient business than many gave them credit for.”
“The unique dynamics of the pandemic saw the usual growth dynamics reverse with Mac and iPad flying high whilst iPhone and Watch slowed,” Blaber said.
Amazon also had a blockbuster quarter, particularly regarding its booming profits, which doubled year-over-year to $5.2 billion in its latest quarter at a time when analysts were expecting a decline. As a result, Amazon shares were up 3.7% during end-of-day trading on Friday to $3,164.68, which is a 5.5% increase from end-of-day trading on Tuesday when its shares were $3,001.04.
As Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets said in an analyst note, “Amazon raised the bar even higher.”
“In our upside scenario, Amazon could see higher-than- expected Revenue growth rates over the next two years, driven by catalysts such as international growth, Alexa device adoption, AWS, and Advertising Revenue growth,” Mahaney wrote.
Then there was Alphabet.
Unlike the other tech giants, Alphabet reported an 8.1% year-over-year decline in online advertising sales to $29.9 billon in its fiscal second quarter. The drop in online ad sales marks the first time that Alphabet’s crucial business unit has declined, which investors found concerning.
Alphabet shares were down 3.3% by the market’s close on Friday to $1,487.95, marking a 1% drop since end-of-day trading on Tuesday when Alphabet shares were at $1,503.65.
Mahaney described Alphabet’s quarter as a “modest beat” but the company’s “fundamentals were clearly weak and negatively impacted by COVID.” That said, he said that RBC Capital views Google as “as among the most resilient ’Net Advertisers.”
“We expect Search ad revenue to rebound as macro fundamentals improve, with the company’s investments in AI, Cloud infrastructure, ads and monetization innovation around YT, and Other Bets to pay off longer-term and set the company up for more years of premium, high-margin growth,” Mahaney wrote.
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