September 28, 2018

Apple and Amazon are Trillion Dollar Companies: What does that really mean?

Apple and Amazon have both reached the previously unimaginable trillion-dollar milestone (though Amazon has since dipped back below the landmark). It’s a mind-boggling amount of money. In real-world terms, one trillion dollars is equivalent to $3,070 for every person in the United States, or $131 for every person in the world.

What else could a trillion dollars buy? With a trillion dollars, an investor could purchase all the shares of Apple or Amazon, but the same amount of money could buy all the publicly traded stock of Russia, Chile, and Qatar combined.

FAANG stocks Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google are enjoying titanic market power and valuations – outweighing even the public markets of entire countries. Investors and governments are taking notice, with growing concerns over issues of privacy, monopoly, and freedom of speech.

For us, the primary issue is market concentration. Despite the recent reclassification of some tech stocks — including Alphabet (Google), Facebook, and Netflix — as Communications sector companies, this small handful of companies continues to dominate the market overall. Co-CIO Bryan Shipley, CFA, CAIA, notes “This is a fundamental change in the nature of the U.S. public stock market, and investors should take this into account in portfolio construction. Greater diversification may have to come from alternative places like international and global stocks, alternatives, and private equity.”