Big Tech dragged down the stock market Wednesday morning after disappointing earnings from two tech giants. Significant profit declines by Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, had tech stocks diving down as a warning of what’s to come. After the closing bell, Meta’s earnings release only further fueled losses.
Microsoft’s net income fell 14% in the third quarter, the worst quarterly decline for the company in more than two years. Its revenue growth was reported to be the weakest in more than five years. The company reported declining sales of Windows operating system and PCs dragged it down. Globally, shipments of PCs were down nearly 20% for the quarter, according to multiple analyses.
The Tuesday evening earnings release resulted in Microsoft’s stock dropping 7.8% at Wednesday’s market open. Meanwhile, Alphabet brought more bad news.
The company posted the fifth consecutive quarter of slowing sales growth while YouTube posted its first-ever recorded drop in advertising revenue. Alphabet’s third quarter profit was down 27% from a year prior, resulting in its stock price dropping 7.7% at Wednesday’s open.
Alphabet’s results in particular reveal deeper cracks in the digital advertising business, which dragged down other tech stocks across the sector who had yet to report their own earnings and outlooks. Meta lost 4.2% at the open, Snap was down 3.1% and Amazon shed 3.8%.
Meta’s earnings report after the bell Wednesday tripled down on the bad tech news. Quarterly revenue declined more than 4% compared with a year ago, while its net profit of $4.4 billion is 52% lower than the same period a year ago. The stock dove more than 12% after hours.
Even before the dismal earnings, the company was already facing shareholder pressure over stock performance. Major investor Brad Gerstner of Altimeter Capital wrote an open letter to Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg this week declaring, “Meta needs to get its mojo back.”
His prescription for the company includes:
- Reduce headcount expense by at least 20% (layoffs).
- Reduce capital expenditures by at least $5 billion, from $30 billion to $25 billion.
- Cap metaverse investment to $5 billion per year.
Meta has had a rough go over the past year, blaming Apple’s App Tracking Transparency prompt for costing it $10 billion in revenue. And it’s not alone, Snap warned earlier this year that, “the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated further and faster than anticipated.”