Drastic stock swings draw attention to the big Techs

The unprecedented slide in shares of the Facebook parent is hitting low-cost index funds, ETFs and 401(k) favorites. Millions of ordinary investors rode Facebook on the way up, whether they realized it or not. The collapse of Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. on Thursday — a record-books $252 billion stunner — places a bright red line under the “big” in Big Tech. Since March 23, 2020, the depths of the pandemic-induced market meltdown, five tech stocks — Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Meta — collectively have accounted for 27% of the S&P 500’s gain. On Thursday, Meta’s unprecedented 26% plunge single-handedly wiped out almost 200 points off the Nasdaq 100, or about a third of the benchmark index’s 4.2% loss.  To be sure, not all tech names are taking a beating. Amazon shares surged about 18% in after-hours trading on Thursday after reporting profits that topped analyst estimates.

U.S. equity futures rose Friday as Amazon.com Inc. earnings soothed nerves about the technology sector, while a rally in Hong Kong shares boosted Asia. A hawkish chorus from key central banks hurt bonds. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were up about 2% after e-commerce titan Amazon and Snap Inc. soared in late trading on strong earnings. An Asia-Pacific equity gauge pushed higher partly on a 3% jump in Hong Kong, which was catching up with global markets after reopening from a holiday. Amazon could add nearly $200 billion in market value if the stock’s 14% gain in after-hours trading holds to Friday’s Wall Street close. That brightened the mood after a historic, $251 billion wipeout for Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. on Thursday dispatched the Nasdaq 100 to its worst drop since 2020. Hawkish comments from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and a Bank of England interest-rate hike underlined risks from inflation. Investors dumped bonds: Japan’s five-year sovereign yield increased to zero for the first time since 2016, after an increase in European yields and selling in Treasuries. The euro strengthened and the dollar retreated. West Texas Intermediate oil flirted with $91 a barrel in an ongoing rally. In Europe, a slew of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aides quit, deepening the crisis engulfing his government. The pound was steady. European equity contracts rose.

Oil powered toward a seventh straight weekly gain as investors zeroed in on a fast-tightening global market and geopolitical tensions. West Texas Intermediate hit a fresh seven-year high near $91 a barrel, set for a jump of more than 4% this week. Brent has surged 18% since the year began and banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast it’ll reach $100. Gains this week have been driven by a combination of factors. Investors have expressed doubt the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies can deliver in full on plans to boost output. At the same time, traders are tracking the situation in Ukraine amid concerns Russia plans to invade, which Moscow has denied. In Texas, a wave of freezing weather has hit some supply. Oil has soared over the past year, joining a broad rally in commodities, as demand recovered from the painful impact of the pandemic. The upsurge has cut stockpiles and prompted traders to pay steep premiums to secure near-term supplies. The jump will fan inflationary pressures, squeezing consumers and alarming politicians concerned about the fast-rising living costs.