Amazon, Netflix and Facebook Market Cap Has Surged by Over 20 Percent as Big Tech Thrives in Pandemic Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting the global economy, but not every business is feeling the pinch, financial data shows.

Throughout the novel coronavirus health crisis, which has seen unemployment across the United States explode to at least 14.7 percent, the market values of "big tech" companies, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google's parent Alphabet, have grown.

The findings were gleaned from market capitalization data between March 13, when President Donald Trump initially declared a national emergency, and May 13, when deaths in America tied to the respiratory illness teetered at 85,000.

Amazon's market cap alone jumped by more than 30 percent, while social media giant Facebook appeared to enjoy an increase of approximately 20 percent. Netflix spiked by a similar amount, perhaps unsurprising due to widespread global lockdowns.

Here's a run-down of the market capitalization statistics (via YCharts):


Apple

Market Cap March 13: 1.216T
Market Cap May 13: 1.333T
Difference: 117 billion
% + 9.6 percent


Amazon

Market Cap March 13: 888.67B
Market Cap May 13: 1.181T
Difference: 292 billion
% + 32.8 percent


Facebook

Market Cap March 13: 485.37B
Market Cap May 13: 584.35B
Difference: 98.98B
% + 20.3 percent


Alphabet

Market Cap March 13: 838.30B
Market Cap May 13: 921.08B
Difference: 82.78B
% + 9.8 percent


Microsoft

Market Cap March 13: 1.208T
Market Cap May 13: 1.363T
Difference: 155B
% + 12.8 percent


Netflix

Market Cap March 13: 147.57B
Market Cap May 13: 192.75B
Difference: 45.18M
% + 30.6 percent


On social media this week, the conversation about technology industry wealth during a time of unprecedented economic crisis has surged.

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, saw his name as a trending topic on Twitter amid reports his personal fortune was growing during the epidemic.

The speculation mounted as Recode reported his retail giant, whose employees have worked throughout the pandemic, was ending double overtime pay after May.

It came after Amazon faced criticism about staff working conditions and an alleged lack of safety procedures during the outbreak. Last month, its executives fired a worker who organized a protest, claiming he had violated social distancing rules.

"Bezos is expected to become the 1st trillionaire as he consolidates the retail market during coronavirus," New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Coleman tweeted this week.

"Now Amazon is telling its workers, who have faced significant risk, that it'll be ending their hazard pay at the end of MAY! Atrocious greed," the politician added.

Michigan congresswomen, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell, have also called for a federal probe into staff working conditions at Amazon facilities.

An Amazon spokesperson told Newsweek: "We're investing over $800 million dollars in the first half of this year on safety measures like temperature checks, masks, enhanced cleaning, gloves and testing, to name a few.

"We encourage anyone... to compare our overall pay and benefits, as well as our speed in managing this crisis, to other retailers and major employers across the country."

A company statement continued: "It's surprising that Reps. Dingell and Tlaib are calling for measures already in place–something we've explained to them in great detail on two separate occasions. We invite them to visit any one of our fulfillment centers so they can see firsthand rather than repeatedly asking the same questions."

On its blog, the retailer has repeatedly said that its top concern is ensuring the health and safety of its employees. It said it expects to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives, including for safety measures.

"If you're a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we're not thinking small," Bezos noted last month, announcing Q1 earnings.

But a surge in some market capitalization provides a snapshot of the industry, and does not mean all tech firms will emerge from the outbreak unscathed.

MarketWatch reported on May 1 that Apple declined to give a forecast for the current quarter due to the virus, despite posting quarterly revenue of $58.3 billion.

In its most recent earnings, Facebook conceded it had seen a "significant reduction" in advertising demand, despite "increased engagement" from users.

"We expect our performance will be impacted by issues beyond our control, including the duration and efficacy of shelter-in-place orders, the effectiveness of economic stimuli around the world, and the fluctuations of currencies," its release said.

Alphabet confirmed on April 28 revenues were up 13 percent versus last year ($41.2 billion) but also said it experienced a "significant slowdown in ad revenues" in March.

Around the same time Microsoft revealed its revenues increased by 15 percent ($35 billion) and said COVID-19 had a "minimal net impact" on its balance sheet.

It remains unknown how the variety of tech firms will fare in a post-COVID-19 reality—but sudden blasts of economic damage have already been felt by many.

Some business models resulted in almost instantaneous casualties, such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, while others, including GrubHub, Postmates or Doordash, experienced a swift boom. The word Zoom, previously niche, is now a household name.

Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said in a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics yesterday that the COVID-19 crisis has left a "devastating human and economic toll in its wake as it has spread around the globe."

"The scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent, significantly worse than any recession since World War II," he said. "We are seeing a severe decline in economic activity... and the job gains of the past decade have been erased."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics agency said last Friday U.S. employment fell sharply in "all major industry sectors," with particularly heavy losses in leisure and hospitality.

This article has been updated with comments from an Amazon spokesperson.

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In this photo illustration the Facebook logo is seen on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen showing Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft logos. Chesnot/Getty
Amazon, Netflix and Facebook Market Cap Has Surged by Over 20 Percent as Big Tech Thrives in Pandemic Crisis | Tech & Science