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Apple and Other Tech Safe Plays Turn Into Falling Stars

The rout of the financial markets due to fears of recession has spared almost no company regardless of size and name. The cachet no longer offers protection.
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Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report who?

The maker of the iPhone, a safe bet for many experts, seems to be living a nightmare like many tech companies. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm must have the feeling that this horror dream is endless. 

For now, the consequences are immense. The stock has lost 20% to $142.77 at last check since November despite earnings proving the solid fundamentals of a company with almost unrivaled operating margins. In the past quarter, Apple reported revenue of $157 billion, up 5%, a sign that demand for its products -- mac, Apple Watch, iPhone -- and services -- Apple store, Apple TV and Health+ -- remains strong. 

Apple reported net income last month of more than $59.6 billion for the three months ending in March, as revenues rose 8.6% from last year to $97.28 billion, comfortably topping analysts' estimates of $93.9 billion. Apple said iPhone revenues rose 5.5% from last year to $50.57 billion.

Apple Lost a Prestigious Crown

Investors have ignored all these positive signals to concentrate on all the negatives. So it's no surprise that Apple lost the symbolic title of the world's most valuable company recently. The firm's market cap was $2.31 trillion, compared to oil giant Saudi Aramco's $2.316 trillion, as of May 22. 

The company warned  supply chain disruptions, particularly in China, as well as the war in Ukraine, would reduce revenues in the current quarter by $4 billion to $8 billion. 

Like the entire tech sector, the Californian juggernaut is suffering from investor fears about the economy. After the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to try to curb inflation, many economists are anticipating a recession.

"I am glad to see @paulkrugman join the view that the American economy is overheated at present and in need of restraint," Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, now a Harvard professor, said. "If overheating risks had been recognized more promptly, we would be in a less severe predicament today."

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Financial turmoil is also building in Europe, according to Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser.

"Europe is right in the middle of the storms from supply chains, from the energy crisis, and obviously just the proximity to some of the atrocities that are occurring in Ukraine,” she told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Investors fear that tech groups will be the first to be affected once households decide to cut less urgent expenses. The eight tech companies included in the top 10 largest valuations in the world have been struggling since the start of the year.

$1 Trillion Is No Longer in Sight for Meta and Nvidia

Microsoft shares have lost 22.4% since January to $259.70, while the price of Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report shares has fallen 23.2% to $2,261.63 over the period. Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com Inc. Report for its part tumbled 37% to $2,108.92. The stock of the e-commerce  giant is down more than $1,200 in less than six months. 

Microsoft ($1.95 trillion), Alphabet ($1.46 trillion) and Amazon ($1.09 trillion) remain above the trillion mark in terms of market value.

Electric vehicle maker Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report trades around $665.70, down 37% since January, and is a far cry from the trillion-dollar market capitalization reached a few months ago. Elon Musk's company has a market value of $699.20 billion.

The trillion dollars in market capitalization is no longer in sight either for Meta  (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report (Facebook) and Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report

The giant of social media shows a share-price loss of 43.3% since January to $193.88 for a market capitalization of $531.06 billion. 

Nvidia shares are down 43.4% since January at $166.50 for a market cap of $421.09 billion.