Summer is, by conventional wisdom, a traditionally sleepy time for the stock market. Investors schedule their vacations during the warm months, and volume declines enough that companies hold off until the fall on releasing big announcements. Like, say, a new version of the iPhone, which is coming in September.
Perhaps its a reflection of the work-hard ethic at Silicon Valley companies, but tech stocks didn’t seem to take the summer off. Many tech shares remained volatile, driven by second-quarter earnings or other news. Here is a recap of who won and who lost between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2018.
Apple Is Worth $1 Trillion
Apple made history in the U.S. stock market by becoming the first American-based company to ever earn a market cap of $1 trillion. Apple reached that milestone on Aug. 2.
The first company to ever be worth $1 trillion was Petrochina, which reached the valuation briefly on its first day of trading in 2008, before losing about 80% of its peak value during the following decade.
Unlike Petrochina, Apple has continued to rise after it hit the $1 trillion target. Under Tim Cook’s management, Apple’s shares have since risen another 10% since breaching the $1 trillion watermark, closing Friday with a $1.099 trillion market value. Rumors concerning Apple’s annual September product event, at once among the best- and worst-kept secrets in tech, suggest that the company will unveil new iPhones on Sept. 12.
Apple’s stock rose 22% between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. The S&P 500 Index, by comparison, rose 7%.
… And Amazon Is Not Far Behind
Amazon broke above the $2,000 per share barrier for the first time ever this week and finished the week at $2,012.71, its highest ever close. More important to those who follow stock-market milestones, Amazon is now worth $982 billion, just $18 billion shy of that fabled $1 trillion market cap.
Amazon, of course, had a strong second quarter, with overall revenue rising 39%, with more Amazon Prime members than ever, and with segments like cloud computing and online advertising rising 49% and 132%, respectively. If the company founded by Jeff Bezos maintains that growth in the current quarter, it could easily join the 13-digit valuation club.
Amazon’s stock rose 24% during the summer session.
Tesla Was as Volatile as Ever
Thanks to the compulsive tweeting by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, shares of Tesla were as volatile as they’ve ever been. Tesla’s bullish supporters and its bearish skeptics have been waging a war over the direction of the company’s stock price. But this summer, Musk gave his critics more than enough ammunition against him.
Overall, Tesla shares rose 6% during the summer, a period when Tesla needed to prove its ability to deliver on its audacious production goals for making its lower-cost Model 3 cars. While Tesla’s internal metrics seemed to show that production of Model 3s are meeting goals, Musk distracted from that goal by berating analysts in an earnings call and infamously calling a diver who rescued a Thai soccer team a “pedo.”
Perhaps most controversially, Musk tweeted that he had secured financing to take Tesla private. Whatever financing he was thinking of didn’t pan out. Musk this week abandoned his plans to take Tesla private, causing the stock to slump at summer’s end.
Facebook’s Stock Is Having a Bad Summer
Shares of Facebook have fallen more than 8% between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The biggest drag on its share price was the company’s second-quarter earnings, in which the company suffered a slowdown in the growth of active users on its core site and warned that the trend may continue into the future.
Those disappointing metrics followed months of questions and often reluctant disclosures about massive information leaks and about how it handles false information on its site. Facebook keeps saying it’s doing its best to counter the kinds of missteps that placed Mark Zuckerberg in the middle of a Congressional inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.