U.S. stock indexes posted a volatile reaction to a mixed bag of quarterly reports from top-tier technology companies after the closing bell on Thursday. Yesterday’s late reports came amid turbulence on Wall Street, with soaring coronavirus cases and uncertainty about a fiscal relief bill in Washington dimming the outlook for an economic recovery and knocking over 3% off the S&P 500 so far this week.
After the cash market close on Thursday, Alphabet (Google) rallied, Apple sank, Twitter tumbled and Facebook dropped. Share swings in these companies following their earnings reports after the bell sent exchange-traded funds tracking the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite down about 1% each, suggesting downside pressure on Wall Street on Friday.
Alphabet Sales Growth Revived as Advertisers Flock Back to Google
Google parent Alphabet Inc on Thursday powered back to sales growth, beating analysts’ estimates for the third quarter as businesses initially hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic resumed advertising with the internet’s biggest supplier of ads.
Alphabet shares, up 13% on the year, rose 8.5% after hours to $1,689.89.
Apple’s Late iPhone Launch Temporarily Wiped $100 Billion Off Its Stock Value
The late launch of new 5G phones caused Apple Inc’s customers to put off buying new devices, leading the company on Thursday to report the steepest quarterly drop in iPhone sales in two years.
Apple fell over 5% at one point in after-hours trade, wiping $100 billion from its stock market value.
Since 2013, Apple has delivered new iPhones each September like clockwork. But pandemic-induced delays pushed the announcement back a month, with some devices still yet to ship.
Even as booming sales of Macs and AirPods boosted overall revenue and profit above what analysts had expected, iPhone sales dropped 20.7% to $26.4 billion.
Twitter Warns US Election Could Affect Ad Sales, Shares Drop 16%
Twitter Inc on Thursday added fewer users than Wall Street had expected and said a rise in expenses would accelerate in the fourth quarter, sending its shares tumbling 16%.
The San Francisco-based social media company said it expected expenses to increase by close to 20% in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago due to an increase in investments.
The company also cautioned that it was hard to predict how advertisers would react as the U.S. presidential election nears on November 3.
Shares of Twitter fell to $44.00 in after-market trading.
Facebook Anticipates Tougher 2021 Even as Pandemic Boosts Ad Revenue
Facebook Inc on Thursday warned of a tougher 2021 despite beating analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue as businesses adjusting to the global coronavirus pandemic continued to rely on the company’s digital ad tools.
The world’s biggest social media company said in its outlook that it faced “a significant amount of uncertainty,” citing pending privacy changes by Apple and a possible reversal in the pandemic-prompted shift to online commerce.
“Considering that online commerce in our largest ad vertical, a change in this trend could serve as a headwind to our 2021 ad revenue growth,” it said.
Shares of the company were lower in extended trading.
Amazon Sees Pandemic Boosting Holiday Sales and Investment in Delivery
Amazon.com Inc on Thursday forecast a jump in holiday sales – and costs related to COVID-19 – as consumers continued to shop more online during the pandemic.
A company executive added that heightened spending on delivery infrastructure would likely continue over years, and shares fell 2% in after-hours trading.
For the fourth quarter, Amazon said it expects net sales of $112 billion to $121 billion. That would mark the company’s first over $100 billion and follows a third-quarter revenue beat that analysts such as eMarketer’s Andrew Lipsman did not expect.
“While it was clear that the pandemic-driven shift to e-commerce would keep Amazon’s topline elevated, it surprised by easily surpassing an already high bar,” Lipsman said.
Without Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet – the so-called FAANG stocks – the S&P 500 would be down about 4% in 2020, compared with the index’s 2% year-to-date rise, according to a research note from Bespoke Investment Group on Thursday.
“Due to both the huge weight of these stocks and their outperformance, the market has become more reliant on them than ever before for its gains,” according to Bespoke.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.