The Sunday Brief

Connecting technology, telecommunications, and the internet

Value Creation – Long-term charts, Fab Five vs. Telco Top Five (Sept 22)

by | Sep 23, 2023 | TSB

Welcome to September, a month that traditionally torments stocks. This year is no exception. The Fab Five as a group were down $310 billion this week thanks to meaningful losses at Amazon (-$116 billion), Microsoft (-$98 billion) and Google (-$89 billion). So far in 2023, however, the group is up slightly more than $2.7 trillion, with the worst performing stock (Microsoft) up 32%.

The Telco Top Five also had a down week (-$7 billion) with small losses across each company. The story remains the same as it was all summer: losses in AT&T and Verizon have been offset by gains in Charter and Comcast.

Speaking of Verizon and AT&T, the EPA issued a statement on Friday detailing the Coal Center, Pennsylvania lead test results (link here). Their conclusion was: “The results do show that some soil samples have lead concentrations above an EPA screening level of 400 parts per million. All areas tested were primarily from areas covered with grass. Well maintained grass provides a natural barrier to reduce exposure and a good cover to prevent soil dust from being easily kicked up. EPA’s assessment of the data takes into account that most of the areas sampled are covered with grass and are not where children gather for long periods of time.” Their stocks have not rebounded from the July pummeling (when AT&T lost $12 billion and Verizon lost $14 billion) quite yet.

The trial between the DOJ and Google continues. On Friday, the former head of search for Google, John Giannandrea (now the head of Artificial Intelligence for Apple), testified that the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 17 (released last Monday), now includes a toggle to allow for users to change search engines in a single tap (more in this Bloomberg article here). This puts a dent in the argument that Google has created significant barriers to switching browsers – it actually appears that the operating system owner (in this case Apple, but also Microsoft and Google itself) can influence the switching experience. As stated in the article, the former Google executive testified in private session for four hours on Friday and those results likely dwarf this tidbit of public information.

While the Apple iPhone 15 backlog report will need to wait until Sunday (we usually release early evening), the Pro version has been receiving a lot of positive reviews. Here’s the writeup from Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal. No doubt that lighter is better for larger devices – lower weight alone may drive some incremental sales at the high end (which we correctly predicted would have a higher MSRP).

That’s it for this week – file is below. More in the first backlog report on Sunday evening and in next week’s full Brief.

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