From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.


The stock market spent the first half of the week painstakingly digging itself out of the red, and for a moment there it looked like it was almost pulling it off. Then a little company called Meta, formerly Facebook, shared its fourth-quarter earnings, and the stock plunged 26.4 percent. Given the company's ginormous market cap, the drop wiped out more than $240 billion in value, making it the largest single-day loss for a U.S. company in history. What sparked the sell-off? Meta's earnings report showed negative user growth on Facebook for the first time, declining ad revenue, and a whole lot of spending on pivoting to the metaverse, a concept not everyone is as stoked about as much as CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Most disconcertingly, the report highlighted how Apple's new privacy policy, which forces apps to ask users permission before collecting data, undermines Meta's ad business. The Nasdaq, however, recovered for the week, ending up more than 1.5 percent on Friday.


In fairness though, Meta didn't tank the stock market by itself. PayPal's shares plunged 17 percent after the company reported slow user growth and a lower than expected revenue forecast. CEO Dan Schulman chalked up the miss to the after-effects of former owner eBay weaning itself off the payment processor, as well as other factors outside of its control such as inflation and supply chain issues weighing on consumer spending.


Not every tech company took a spill this week. Other mega-cap tech stocks fared much better. Google parent Alphabet, for example, reported strong sales growth on the back of its continued dominance in digital advertising. The company also announced a 20-for-1 stock split — so if $3,000 per share was a little steep for you, this might be your chance to buy $GOOGL. Amazon, meanwhile, reported a 9 percent jump in sales, a 40 percent jump in revenue for Amazon Web Services, and a $12 billion gain from its investment in EV maker Rivian. The stock jumped more than 13 percent on Friday, 
Another tech stock that made out well amid the earnings bonanza was Snap. The social media company, like Meta, is highly dependent on Apple and is likely to face headwinds from its privacy changes, but strong earnings and an optimistic forecast for 2022, including a huge jump in users, pushed up the stock nearly 50 percent on Friday. Snap was down about 24 percent on Thursday before releasing its earnings report but rallied for a 59 percent gain on Friday.


Outside of the world of high-value tech stocks, General Motors' rosy forecast for 2022 and plans to double down on the electric vehicle market drove up its share price this week. CEO Mary Barra also signaled that the chip shortage plaguing the automotive market would likely ease later this year, clearing the way for more growth. Investors were less generous to Ford, which saw its shares slide after missing Wall Street expectations in Q4 earnings. The automaker was nonetheless bullish about 2022 overall and also said the semiconductor shortage would ease up soon. 


Where there are cars, there's oil, and the biggest oil companies are back in the money. Hot off a blockbuster earnings report from Chevron last week, fellow U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil reported its most profitable year since 2014. Shares popped 6 percent on the news, tacking on more gains to its 80 percent surge over the last 12 months. As oil prices crossed $90 per barrel for the first time since 2014 this week, Exxon Mobil and other oil companies are banking on a multiyear upswing for the fossil fuel industry. 


If all this talk of oil and semiconductors is bringing you down, take a peek at Hershey's latest earnings. The chocolate maker's stock rose 3 percent on the news that the company turned in higher earnings. Apparently, it's also struggling to keep up with demand, despite hitting record production levels and adding four new manufacturing lines. So tech's down; oil's up; chips are coming back, and people still love chocolate.