Stock market futures rose modestly late Wednesday. Futures for the S&P 500 index, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 edged up on earnings reports as well as Amazon (AMZN) revealing that it has more than 100 million Amazon Prime members. Customers pay Amazon and Netflix (NFLX) real money for their services. Meanwhile, fellow FANG stocks Facebook (FB) and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) have offered free services in which users pay in “data.” But that free-data, ad-driven model has come under fire in the wake of the Facebook data-privacy scandal. This divide is stark in the FANG stocks’ performance.
(Apple (AAPL), which is sometimes included in a FAANG stock grouping, is a more extreme example of the dollars-vs.-data model. Apple gets customers — and wireless providers — to pay up for the iPhone, while stressing privacy and not selling users’ data.)
S&P 500 futures rose 0.15% above fair value. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.3%. Dow Jones futures climbed 0.2%.
Amazon Prime Primes Stock
Amazon has vaulted 69% over the past year to Wednesday’s close. Shares rose about 1.5% in late trading after CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed Amazon Prime membership has topped 100 million. Not only is that money in the bank for Amazon, but it spurs customers to spend far more on the e-commerce site, which doesn’t always have the lowest prices.
Amazon is working on what would likely be a cup base, but it’s not quite long enough to create a potential buy point.
Netflix Subscribers Hit 125 Million
Shares of Netflix have surged this week to a new high on strong Q1 results and guidance. Netflix streaming subscribers now total 125 million worldwide, with strong growth expected to continue Shares have rallied 133% over the past year, leading all FANG stocks and blowing out the S&P 500’s 16% advance over that time.
Facebook is up just 18% over the past 12 months and down 6% so far in 2018. The stock sold off sharply in late March on revelations that Cambridge Analytica had unauthorized data on some 87 million Facebook users. The social giant said third parties have likely scrapped data from most of its two billion users. The stock has recouped some losses, helped by a decent performance by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at congressional hearings. But Facebook shares have been lagging the S&P 500 since Nov. 1.
Facebook user growth is slowing, new regulations are likely, and the company is spending more to root out fake news and Russian interference. To make matters worse, Amazon appears to be grabbing a bigger piece of the online ad market, cutting into Facebook and Google.
Alphabet shares have climbed 26% in the last 12 months, up slightly in 2018. Facebook’s woes hit Alphabet shares somewhat, amid concerns about how regulators might target Google’s own data practices. Alphabet’s RS line hasn’t made much headway in the past year. The stock did retake its 50-day line on Tuesday.
As for Apple, the iPhone maker also is up 26% over the past year. The stock is up modestly in 2018, approaching a new 183.60 buy point. Apple dipped 0.2% to 177.84 on Wednesday. The RS line is at consolidation highs but hasn’t made much progress in 11 months.
On the downside, the stock’s recent advance has been in light volume.
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