Meta and Amazon smash earnings expectations as stock markets rise Economy

Meta and Amazon smash earnings expectations as stock markets rise  Economy

Asian markets rose after US technology giants reported stronger-than-expected financial results.

Asian markets rose after the release of stronger-than-expected earnings results by Meta and Amazon, which led to a rise in the share prices of the technology giants.

In Hong Kong, where stocks fell due to weak economic indicators in mainland China, the Hang Seng Index rose on Friday by about 2 percent in morning trading before paring its gains, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index rose 1 percent.

India’s NSE NIFTY 50 index rose more than 1.5%.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, on Thursday reported revenue of $40.1 billion and profit of $14 billion for the fourth quarter of last year — far exceeding analysts’ expectations.

Meta’s stock price rose more than 14 percent to exceed $445 in after-hours trading.

Meta reached a milestone on Thursday, becoming the first in its generation of tech startups — a company valued at $1 billion before listing on the stock market — to announce that it will pay shareholders a dividend, set at 50 cents per share.

“We had a good quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Amazon’s fourth-quarter results also exceeded expectations with sales of $170 billion, causing shares to rise by as much as 9 percent.

Amazon’s cloud business, AWS, also recorded strong results during the last quarter, with revenues reaching $24.2 billion.

“This fourth quarter was a record-breaking holiday shopping season, closing out 2023 strong for Amazon,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement.

Both Meta and Amazon have engaged in significant cost-cutting, with the tech giants laying off about 48,000 employees between them since 2022.

The tech giants’ strong performance added $280 billion to US markets on Thursday, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average closing higher.

Meta and Amazon’s better-than-expected fourth-quarter performance is a bright spot in a bumpy start to 2024 amid increasing scrutiny by U.S. regulators over online safety concerns and alleged antitrust violations.

Tech giant Apple also beat expectations with its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, but its shares fell 3.3 percent on the back of a 13 percent drop in iPhone sales in China, where local brands have ousted their dominant position in the market.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter financial results that fell short of analysts’ expectations, sending its shares down more than 6 percent.

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