- Most tech stocks faced severe challenges in 2022, including supply chain bottlenecks, closing factories and decreased demand due to inflation
- Companies like Tesla and Netflix experienced significant hits to their stock prices
- The FAANG companies have been trending in a positive direction over the last few months, and analysts are hopeful they can continue the trend in light of recent layoffs and decreased recessionary fears
Investors and analysts use the acronym FAANG to refer to five of the best-performing, tech-focused stocks of recent years. These include Meta Platforms (Facebook), Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (Google). Every FAANG stock trades on the Nasdaq and is part of the S&P 500 Index.
2022 was a particularly rough year for the FAANG stocks, with all five of them seeing a tumble in share price. With some experts suggesting it’s time to update the acronym to represent the new top dogs in this field, the question is whether they can make a comeback in 2023.
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Tech stocks in 2022
Between the Fed raising interest rates and mass layoffs, 2022 was not a pretty year for the tech world. The Nasdaq, which mainly includes tech companies, experienced a 33% drop in 2022.
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Going through the acronym letter-by-letter, Meta experienced a 64% drop in its stock price in 2022, the worst of the group. Amazon fell 50%, and Apple lost 27%, faring best of the five. Netflix performed poorly, falling 52%, and Alphabet sank roughly 39%.
2022 also saw Tesla’s stock fall roughly 70%. This was a particularly abysmal showing for the automotive and energy company, driven by supply chain bottlenecks, factories shutting down due to COVID, concerns over decreased demand, CEO Elon Musk’s activity at Twitter and other factors.
FAANGs’ recent performance and forecast
Many analysts have suggested that at least a few FAANG stocks will bounce back in 2023. We’ll break down each company’s recent performance and financials before considering what 2023 may hold for these five recognizable stocks.
Meta Platforms (META)
Meta started 2022 off on the wrong foot, seeing an over 30% drop in its stock price in February alone. This was primarily due to a disappointing fourth-quarter earnings release, which included a lukewarm forecast for 2022.
Meta’s stock trended downward for most of the year, haunted by bad press about the metaverse and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s costly investment in Reality Labs. A disastrous third-quarter earnings release in September led to further declines.
However, in November of 2022, Meta stock surged almost 27% due to the announcement of a cost-cutting strategy that involved laying off 11,000 employees. With Meta phasing out certain offices and products, investors were suddenly hopeful the company could recoup its losses.
This optimism has continued in the new year. Earlier this month, Meta stock shot up 23% in a single day after beating earnings with around $32.2 billion in revenue. Some analysts have predicted an 8% rise from Meta’s current price in 2023.
Furthermore, Meta’s stock rose earlier this week after it announced Meta Verified, a paid verification service similar to Twitter Blue.
Amazon’s stock saw a considerable drop in April last year as investors anticipated a disappointing first-quarter earnings report. Published on April 28, it was as dismal as expected, with Amazon reporting a net loss of $3.8 billion compared to a net income of $8.1 billion in the previous year’s quarter. The stock fell about 24% that month alone.
It then rallied in July after Amazon published better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, which suggested the company could experience a reacceleration in sales. This was short-lived, as September and October saw further slips in the stock. Forecasts for holiday sales were pessimistic due to news of supply chain issues and worries over inflation and high interest rates.
Macro pressures made 2022 a pessimistic year for the company’s retail division, but Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), also saw troubles. In October, AWS reported its lowest percentage of revenue growth in over seven years.
Recessionary fears are subsiding, and Amazon recently announced job cuts for over 18,000 people. The company is gearing up for a comeback in 2023.
Many analysts have offered price targets about 40% higher than Amazon’s current price. The Street’s consensus estimate of 20% cloud revenue growth has made Amazon stock the most optimistic of the FAANGs for 2023.
Apple started 2022 on a high note after it became the first company to hit a $3 trillion market valuation. Though this accomplishment is mainly symbolic, it signaled optimism among investors and suggested Apple had taken advantage of pandemic-related demand for home office and entertainment electronics.
However, the company’s performance throughout the rest of the year didn’t merit much celebration. Inflation limited consumer spending and stunted demand for Apple products. The company also encountered supply chain issues related to factories in China. This resulted in an up-and-down year for Apple, with the stock price rising and falling between $120 and $180.
Still, Apple didn’t suffer as much as the other FAANG stocks in 2022. Their fourth-quarter earnings report that was released in October beat revenue and earnings per share expectations. Revenue from iPhone products continued to grow, reaching $42.6 billion for the quarter and marking a roughly 9% increase from the previous year’s quarter.
Unfortunately, Apple’s most recent earnings report, released earlier this month, missed expectations. Revenue was down 5.5%, and profit margins decreased by 2%. Despite this, many analysts have given price targets for 2023, reflecting a 20% upside potential.
Apple recently started laying off contractors, which will hopefully save on expenses. Plus, with the iPhone 15 slated to release this year, many consider this stock a buy.
Netflix stock lost roughly 71% of its value in the first half of 2022. This precipitous drop came after a few years of growth for the company, mainly attributable to increased demand for home entertainment during the pandemic.
Netflix’s first-quarter earnings report was to blame for the tumble, as it showed the service had lost 200,000 subscribers in the quarter, the first loss it had experienced in over a decade. Net income also decreased that quarter by 6.4% to $1.60 billion.
This trend of losing subscribers would continue into the second quarter when Netflix reported an additional one million people had unsubscribed. The company was able to reverse course in the third quarter of 2022, adding 2.4 million new subscribers, and continued to impress with better-than-expected subscriber gains in the fourth quarter.
Netflix’s recent recovery has led to mixed analyst projections. Many are bearish, anticipating a 5% drop over this year. However, many others have expressed optimism, with some experts suggesting the price will blow past $400 before the year’s end.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)
Alphabet stock saw a roughly 18% drop across April last year, mainly due to a first-quarter earnings report that missed expectations. Though revenue increased from $55.3 billion to $68 billion year-over-year, diluted earnings per share decreased from $26.29 to $24.62.
Alphabet faced similar headwinds as most tech companies in 2022, as decreased demand due to inflation and higher interest rates reduced advertiser demand. YouTube, one of the most popular services owned by Alphabet, recently reported its second consecutive quarter of ad revenue decline.
Fourth-quarter earnings results missed expectations, with revenue, earnings per share and Google Cloud revenue coming up short. Alphabet is looking to cut expenses and recently announced layoffs for around 12,000 employees.
The primary obstacle Alphabet faces in 2023 is competition in the search engine sector, as Microsoft has plans to integrate the ChatGPT chatbot into its rival search engine, Bing. With Google rushing to release artificial intelligence (AI) products this year, analysts are bullish on this stock, with some predicting the price could move as high as $160 by the end of 2023.
Headwinds and potential tailwinds
Tech stocks experienced tailwinds during the pandemic as demand for their services and products increased with stay-at-home orders. However, as these tailwinds dissipated, companies struggled to adjust to reduced consumer spending and pandemic-related supply hiccups.
As we emerge from a challenging year and inflation pressures wane, many people are looking for ways to invest in the tech sector again.
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The bottom line
2022 was a challenging year for tech companies as inflation pressured investors to save money and pandemic tailwinds subsided. Going into 2023, the FAANG stocks are looking to continue recent successes.
Analysts are bullish about most of them, hoping they’ll be able to make significant comebacks. However, time will tell if these forecasts are accurate.
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