Shares in the fourth of the ‘Big 4’ tech giants, Google owner Alphabet, fell in value after the company posted its very first drop in revenues in the whole of its 22-year history. The 5% drop in its share price saw some £18bn wiped off its corporate value.
Shares in the other three of the ‘Big 4’ tech giants, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, all rose thanks to yet another bumper period of sales figures. And their investors were delighted.
All this was reported just the day after the US economy recorded its biggest slump in post-war history. So, what’s going on that makes Google out of line?
The huge rally in share prices saw Apple shares rise to record highs of more than $412 each, adding £85bn to is value and with the company’s market capitalisation of almost £1.4 trillion it overtook the oil giant Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable listed company.
At the same time, the bonanza in their share prices added over £5bn to both Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ and Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortunes. With Amazon adding £46bn to its value and Facebook more than £37bn.
The combined gains of all 3 of the ‘Big 4’ tech giants were worth more than the entire value of Unilever the UK’s biggest listed firm, the £120bn consumer goods group.
Added Together, the ‘Big 4’ US tech titans reported an amazing £156bn in sales revenue for the three months to June 30, even though separate data showed the wider US economy having contracted by an unprecedented 9.5% in the second quarter.
When looked at side by side these figures underline the massive gulf in fortunes between big tech companies, that have benefited from the move towards digital services during the pandemic, and more traditional physical bricks and mortar businesses whose sales have been negatively impacted by lockdown restrictions.
Just looking at Amazon’s like for like sales figures show that it is emerging as a major winner from the coronavirus crisis, with its second quarter revenues growing 40pc to £68bn as people affected by lockdown all over the world turned to doing more shopping online. Profits had also doubled to £4bn, despite Amazon previously saying that it wasn’t expecting spectacular profit figures because of major additional unforeseen costs for making all of its warehouses ‘Covid secure’.
However, Alphabet sales dropped 2pc to £29.1bn after big business advertisers cut back on their spending in the face of economic uncertainty.
And right there is the reason why Google was the odd one out of the ‘Big 4′ tech giants in reporting poor results. Because of the unforeseen impact of the pandemic on their big business clients’ advertising spending on which they were relying.
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