By Jon Swartz
Big Tech may be under siege, but its stocks are overperforming.
Shares of Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -1.29% , Google parent Alphabet Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.36% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -0.50% and Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT -1.70% closed at record highs Monday, cresting a wave of strong U.S. job growth last month despite a wave of criticism over their outsize influence on the economy and in the lives of Americans. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -1.00% rose 1.7%, pushing other tech names to record heights, including Oracle Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202180826/composite ORCL +0.25% , HP Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite HPQ +0.08% and large semiconductor-equipment suppliers.
Facebook climbed 3.4% to $308.91 a share, as the social-networking giant continued to flourish despite lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general alleging anticompetitive business practices as well as warnings from its own chief financial officer of a slowdown in digital advertising, its lifeblood. The closing price shattered Facebook’s previous record close of $303.91 on Aug. 26, 2020.
On Saturday, a member of a low-level hacking forum published the phone numbers and personal data of 533 million Facebook users , just the latest in a string of controversies for the social-networking company. But it seems to matter little. Indeed, Facebook’s advertising prices are up 30% over their 2020 levels as of mid-March, according to research from marketing agency Aisle Rocket.
Alphabet, the subject of a Justice Department lawsuit as well as two state AG suits, surged 4% to close at $2,218.96. The company benefited, in part, from its victory in the U.S. Supreme Court over Oracle in a long-running copyright dispute over the software used in Android.
For more: Supreme Court sides with Google in $8 billion copyright dispute with Oracle
Facebook and Alphabet face a raft of litigation and legislation to rein in their considerable clout, but their stock trajectories have remained intact.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has become tech’s lightning rod for data-collection practices, privacy policies, and microtargeting of consumers. Zuckerberg, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.06% CEO Jack Dorsey each received yet another tongue lashing from House members about the spread of misinformation on their sprawling digital platforms.
Members of Congress have vowed to pass legislation that curtails their ability to scoop up would-be competitors, as Facebook did with Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as protect consumers. House committee member Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) has introduced a bill to combat the online sale of stolen, counterfeit, and dangerous consumer products by requiring verification of third-party sellers on online retail marketplaces.
Microsoft, which has skirted antitrust scrutiny and positioned itself as a White Knight during the Big Tech backlash, improved 2.8% to $249.07.
The trio of tech giants weren’t alone. More than a dozen tech stalwarts — including Oracle, HP, Texas Instruments Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202237907/composite TXN -2.04% and three large chip-equipment suppliers, Lam Research Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208077897/composite LRCX -2.81% , Applied Materials Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209393259/composite AMAT -2.24% and KLA Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209248041/composite KLAC -3.76% — hit intraday stock price highs Monday, according to Dow Jones market data research. Oracle, Texas Instruments, Lam Research, Applied Materials, KLA, and HP all closed at record highs.