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FANG Stocks

"FANG" is an acronym for four U.S. technology stocks—Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google—that have been among the best performers in the stock market since the bull market began in 2009. James Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money program and the founder of TheStreet.com, is credited with coining the term to describe these tech stocks in 2013.[1]

For some, the list also includes Apple, making it "FAANG." Here are the market capitalisations of the five FAANG stocks, including Apple, as of 14 August 2019, and their stock performance since 1 May 2009:

  • Facebook (FB): US$513.9 billion, +462.5% (FB went public in May 2012)
  • Amazon (AMZN): US$873.8 billion, +2,157%
  • Apple (AAPL): US$916.7 billion, +946%
  • Netflix (NFLX): US$130.7 billion, +5,239%
  • Google (GOOG): US$807.2 billion, +460%

Over that same period, NASDAQ and the S&P 500, of which all five stocks are components, are both up about 293%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which includes Apple, is up 202%.

As one can see, these five stocks—both individually and as a group—have greatly outperformed the overall market. As a result, these five stocks now account for a highly disproportionate share of the U.S. stock market's capitalisation. The market cap of all stocks in the S&P 500 totals about US$24 trillion, while the combined market cap of the five FAANG stocks was US$3.2 trillion, or about 13.5% of the total.

Concerns Surrounding FANG Stocks

The shared market cap has led to some concern that much of the market's fortunes are riding on just these five stocks and that the overall market could decline if these five stocks were to start underperforming. This worry has been exacerbated by the fact that some regulators, lawmakers and politicians in the U.S. and Europe have called for some of these companies—particularly Google, Facebook and Amazon—to be broken up or to have their activities constrained.

In June 2017, for example, the European Union fined Google a then-record US$2.7 billion (2.4 billion euros) for allegedly skewing search results to favour its own shopping services over that of competitors.[2] A year later, in July 2018, the EU fined Google a record U$5.1 billion for allegedly abusing its power in the mobile phone market.[3]

In the U.S., Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), among others, has called for breaking up Google, Facebook and Amazon.[4] In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days testifying before the U.S. Congress about legislators' concerns about the company's privacy policies.[5]

In July 2019, Facebook executives testified before a mostly skeptical Congress about the company's plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, called Libra, which has raised concerns from regulators and lawmakers both in the U.S. and abroad about the currency's possible use by criminals for money laundering and other illegal purposes.[6]

Despite these concerns, technology stocks, of which the FAANG stocks make up an even larger share, have greatly outperformed the overall U.S. stock market. In the first seven months of 2019, for example, technology stocks were the best performing sector in the S&P 500, returning a combined 31.4%, well ahead of the 23.9% gain in NASDAQ and the 20.2% gain in the S&P 500.[7]

Summary

FANG is an acronym for stocks for four tech companies that have been among the best performing stocks over the past 10 years, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. The acronym was originally coined by American television stock market analyst James Cramer. It has often been lengthened to FAANG so that it also includes Apple.

Past Performance is not an indicator of future results.