The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
Tech giants lost some of their stature this week as a slew of lackluster earnings reports turned investors against the once high-flying megacaps. Microsoft shares dipped more than 8 percent after the company lowered its forecast for its Azure cloud-computing services business, and projected continued pressure in the flagging PC market. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet also slipped more than 9 percent following the release of its earnings, which showed lower-than-expected revenue gains — in large part because advertising spending is declining. Alphabet subsidiary YouTube, for instance, saw revenue fall 1.9 percent year-over-year.
Even amidst the tech sector's battering, Meta's meltdown stood out this week. Shares of the social media company cum metaverse pioneer plunged nearly 25 percent after it disclosed a $9 billion loss from Reality Labs, which is the segment behind the metaverse. This includes a $4 billion loss in the third quarter alone, and Meta is anticipating more losses to come. Here's the company, putting it pretty bluntly. "We do anticipate that Reality Labs losses in 2023 will grow significantly year-over-year." In other words, Meta is going all in on the metaverse, but the pivot isn't coming cheap, and not everyone is convinced it will pay off long-term.
Breaking the mold, however, was Apple. The company saw shares pop around 7.5 percent Friday morning, as investors reacted positively to an earnings report showing 8 percent annual sales growth. Even though certain product segments, such as iPhone and services, missed on estimates, the tech giant looked relatively stable compared to its Big Tech brethren. One clear reason for this, besides the solid sales growth, is that Apple is in the hardware business, so it's less vulnerable to cyclical shifts in ad spending. At the same time, Apple is facing the same macroeconomic conditions as everyone else, and CEO Tim Cook did note that the next quarter could see additional headwinds.
Another exception to the downbeat week for tech was Shopify. The stock shot up 17 percent on an earnings report that wasn't as bad as expected. Indeed, just slightly beating the estimates appears to be enough to shift investor sentiment significantly in this climate. It's worth noting though that expectations were pretty low. Shares of the e-commerce giant have already lost about 75 percent of their value this year.
Finally, looking beyond tech, automakers were all over the place. General Motor's stock popped after the company reported a 24 percent jump in U.S. vehicle sales, signaling a rebound for the domestic market. Ford, meanwhile, reported a net loss of $827 million, which sparked a brief dip that the automaker quickly recovered from, ending the week up almost 8 percent. Mobileye, which develops technology for self-driving cars, saw its shares surge 37 percent after its initial public offering on Wednesday. The rally marked one of the few successful IPOs in 2022.