SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — Once the darlings of Silicon Valley, the tech FAANG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google — were battered Monday amid rumors over possible government antitrust investigations.
At the market’s closing bell, the tumble of the FAANG stocks sent NASDAQ down 120.13 to 7,333.02 — a loss of 1.61 percent. Meanwhile, the Dow was up slightly by 4.74 points.
Facebook fell $13.32 a share to $164.15 — a loss of 7.51 percent. Amazon was off $82.38 a share to $1,692.69 — a drop of 4.64 percent. Apple finished the day
down $1.77 to $173.30 a share. Netflix dropped $6.65 a share to $336.63 and Google (Alphabet) tumbled by $67.76 a share to $1,038,74.
Facebook’s plunge followed a Wall Street Journal report that the Federal Trade Commission will lead any antitrust investigation into the company as part of an arrangement that would give the Justice Department oversight of Google.
The FTC and the Justice Department oversee antitrust issues in the U.S. and must establish who will take the lead in different investigations. Citing unnamed sources The Journal said Monday that the FTC secured the rights to begin a potential investigation into whether Facebook engaged in what it called “unlawful monopolistic behavior.”
The report Monday said the Justice Department, in turn, will lead the Google probe.
The FTC is already investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations . The FTC declined to comment and Facebook did not immediately respond to a message for comment. Facebook has set aside $3 billion for a possible fine for that investigation and said it could be as high as $5 billion.
Meanwhile, Apple executives previewed a large set of privacy and speed-focused changes to the company’s phone and computer software Monday, some intended to help it diversify to offset eroding sales of its bedrock product, the iPhone.
Apple CEO Tim Cook began his keynote by recapping services Apple announced earlier this spring, including a news reading service and an arcade service for games. He also previewed one of the original shows Apple is producing for its new video-streaming service, “For All Mankind,” set in an alternate history where the Soviets were first to land a man on the moon.
The software showcase is an annual rite. This year, however, Apple is grappling with its biggest challenge since its visionary co-founder, Steve Jobs, died nearly eight years ago.
Although still popular, the iPhone is no longer reliably driving Apple’s profits the way it has for the past decade. Sales have fallen sharply for the past two quarters, and could suffer another blow if China’s government targets the iPhone in retaliation for the trade war being waged by President Donald Trump.
Apple’s keynote focused largely on minor feature updates to its flagship software, but hinted at its shift toward a services-focused company.
Apple emphasized its privacy protections during the keynote — following along with Facebook, Google and other major tech companies’ scripts this year.
In its new operating system iOS 13, the company is introducing “Sign in with Apple” to let users sign into apps without using similar sign-in services from Facebook and Google. The sign in will let you hide your actual email address if you choose. Apple is also making it easier to only show your location to apps once and not continually.
Another potential problem looms for Apple. Regulatory complaints and a consumer lawsuit both question whether Apple has been abusing the power of its iPhone app store to thwart competition and gouge smaller technology companies that rely on it to attract users and sell their services.
Apple is trying to adapt by squeezing money from digital services tailored for the more than 900 million iPhones currently in use.
Of course, the company hasn’t totally abandoned the iPhone. The newest version of Apple’s iPhone operating system, iOS 13, will feature a dark mode and faster tools. For instance, the company said a new version of its Face ID system will unlock your phone 30 percent faster.
The biggest remake of a single app is a makeover of Apple Maps, which will debut this fall. It includes more granular street and place data that Apple says it collected with street and aerial footage — tactics its largest mobile app rival Google has been using for years.
Apple also unveiled several new apps for its smartwatch, including independent apps that don’t rely on the iPhone. The App Store will be available on the watch, making it possible for people to find and download apps right on their watch — expanding the availability of purchases that generate commissions for Apple.