It only took 17 years, but U.S. tech stocks finally broke their dot-com bubble high by one significant measure.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500's Information Technology sector closed at 992.29, which marks a new lifetime high since its previous record of 988.49, set during the height of the dot-com bubble in March 2000. Tech stocks have vastly outperformed the S&P 500's other 10 sectors so far this year, having gained 22.3% so far, according to the S&P website. Chip names such as Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) , Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Micron Technology Inc. (MU) have helped drive the surge.
Much has changed in the market since the dot-com bubble. Back then, the world wide web had just been born, leading to a ton of speculative investments in internet companies and a years-long rally in tech stocks. Things abruptly turned sour, however, when many of those shiny new internet companies flopped or came close to failure, spurring a major selloff. Many leading technology companies shed 40% to 50% of their value in less than a month. Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , now worth more than $1,000 a piece, plummeted from $107 to as low as $6 a share.
A new class of tech titans has formed since the dot-com collapse, including Facebook Inc. (FB) , Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Amazon, Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) and Alphabet Inc./Google (GOOGL) -- also known as the "FAAMG" stocks, a riff on the initial "FANG" acronym (which includes Netflix Inc. (NFLX) ) coined by TheStreet's Jim Cramer. But before them, there were a group of other outperforming tech names that led the market, which John Frank, a strategist at Invesco investment management firm, refers to as "The Power Five."
Here's who was considered part of the dot-com era's "Power Five" and how they're doing now.
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Unlike some of its dot-com era peers, Microsoft has managed to regain its footing and continue thriving following the bursting of the tech bubble, when its shares fell almost 63%. Powered by its move into the cloud and other changes instituted by CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft hit a new all-time high of $74.04 on Wednesday and remains one of the largest companies in the world with a market cap of about $571 billion, vs. $561 billion in March 2000.
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At the height of the dot-com boom, Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) surpassed Microsoft to become the most valuable company in the world, with a whopping market value of $555.4 billion. In just a few months, Cisco saw its stock decline 86%, shrinking its market cap to about $151 billion. Today, the network giant's market value stands at about $161 billion as it tries to transition to selling primarily hardware to networking software and services.
Intel Corp. (INTC) was and still remains one of the largest tech names in Silicon Valley, supplying chips to many of the world's biggest companies, including Google and Amazon, although its one-time dominance of the chip market has diminished considerably. In August 2000, Intel was at its peak with a market value of $509 billion, making it the third-largest tech company in the world. Intel shed about $400 billion of its value after the bubble burst, however, and is now worth approximately $162 billion.
The dot-com bust caused some major ups and downs for Oracle Systems Inc. (ORCL) . Shares of the database giant peaked at $45.47 in August 2000, before bottoming out at $7.30 in September 2002. Last month, Oracle's stock finally surpassed the high set during the dot-com era when it rose to $51.19 per share, putting its market cap at about $211 billion, compared to $245 billion in March 2000.
IBM's (IBM) market cap stood at about $215 billion at the height of bubble, with shares trading as high as $132 before shedding close to 60% of their value in just two years. IBM was eventually able to rise above its dot-com era high in 2010 and has largely been able to stay above it since then, but has had a rough time in recent years, with its stock declining 25% over the last five years. On Tuesday, the tech giant posted weak fiscal second quarter results, with sales declining year-over-year for the 21st consecutive quarter. Wall Street has continued to ratchet up pressure on CEO Ginni Rometty, who is in the process of repositioning the company away from software and toward the cloud. Its market cap now stands at about $139 billion.
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