FAANG stocks, which include Facebook (now Meta Platforms), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (now Alphabet), are some of the most prominent companies in the tech sector. Originally coined as FANG, the acronym expanded to FAANG with the inclusion of Apple in 2017. These stocks have a heavy weighting in indexes like the S&P 500, making it important for investors to understand them.
Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, owns popular social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. The company is also investing in virtual reality technology through its Oculus headset. However, its metaverse-focused business, Reality Labs, is currently experiencing significant losses.
Amazon is the largest e-commerce company globally, with its Prime membership program having over 200 million subscribers. In addition to e-commerce, Amazon has found success in cloud computing services and advertising, with most of its profits coming from its cloud infrastructure business, Amazon Web Services.
Apple is a major smartphone manufacturer, and its device sales contribute significantly to its revenue. The company has also ventured into higher-margin subscription services like streaming music and video, gaming, news, and cloud storage. Apple's recent launch of its spatial computing headset, Vision Pro, could pave the way for the next major computing platform.
Netflix, one of the first internet-born media companies, shifted from DVD-by-mail to on-demand streaming in 2007. It has since become a leader in the streaming industry, serving over 200 million global subscribers. While other media companies have launched their own streaming platforms, Netflix remains the dominant player.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is primarily focused on its Google products and services, including YouTube and Search. It has also expanded into cloud computing and other ventures through its "other bets" segment, which includes businesses like Waymo and Verily. Alphabet has emphasized its AI capabilities with the launch of its own chatbot interface, Bard AI.
Microsoft, originally known for its Windows operating system, has diversified its business over the years. Its cloud computing operations, Azure, and Office productivity suite now generate significant revenue. The company also has a gaming segment led by Xbox and an advertising business. Microsoft sees AI as the next frontier and has invested in AI-powered products like Bing.
Historically, FAANG stocks have outperformed the S&P 500 index, with Apple being the strongest performer. However, past performance does not guarantee future success. The five FAANG companies combined make up around 20% of the S&P 500 and almost half of the Nasdaq-100 Index. Replacing Netflix with Microsoft increases these percentages to approximately 26% and 60%, respectively.
FAANG companies possess competitive advantages such as network effects and intangible assets. Meta, Google, Amazon, and Netflix benefit from their large user bases, while Apple's ecosystem creates switching costs for iOS users. Microsoft's Windows platform and Office suite have high switching costs as well. These advantages contribute to the companies' profitability.
Investors looking to gain exposure to FAANG stocks can consider the NYSE FANG+ index, which tracks the five FAANG stocks and five other tech leaders, including Microsoft. There is also an exchange-traded note (ETN) that tracks the FANG+ index. However, building a portfolio of FAANG or MAMAA stocks may be more cost-effective and allow for greater customization.
Overall, FAANG and MAMAA stocks have proven to be attractive long-term investments, but investors should evaluate each stock's valuation and compare it to competitors before making investment decisions.
1. What is a FAANG Stock? FAANG stocks refer to a group of big tech stocks, including Facebook (Meta Platforms), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. These stocks have a history of outperformance and dominance in their respective markets.
2. What does FAANG stand for? FAANG originally referred to Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Variations like FAAMNG and MAMAA include Microsoft and use updated company names.
3. Is there a dedicated ETF for FAANG stocks? There is no ETF exclusively focused on FAANG stocks, but the MicroSectors FANG+ ETN includes FAANG stocks as part of its portfolio.
4. How much of the S&P 500 is made up of FAANG stocks? FAANG stocks account for approximately 20% of the S&P 500. Replacing Netflix with Microsoft increases this percentage to around 26%.