Highly anticipated and coveted by millennials, Generation X-ers and the Y2K fandom alike, And Just Like That, the sequel to the late nineties/early aughts HBO series Sex and the City, gave us the return of famed characters Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes, and Mr. Big. Albeit for one episode only.
In fact—spoiler alert—Mr. Big dies of a heart attack during a ride session on his Peloton in the very first episode. In a rare case of fiction influencing reality, Peloton must have felt its own tremors, as its shares quickly plummeted the day after, going from $45 before the first episode aired to $39.42, with many pointing to its depiction in the series. However, as analysts pointed out, Peloton’s vacillating shares are nothing new. Credit Suisse downgraded the company’s earning potentials at the end of Q4 2021, predicting that people would eventually return to gyms and forego pricey home workouts. JMP Securities followed suit and downgraded Peloton’s stock at the end of 2021, after its shares lost a cumulative 76% of their value year-on-year.
Peloton’s fall from market grace might have been the most heart-wrenching for its avid bikers, but it’s certainly not the only tech stock to feel heat. Just yesterday, the Federal Reserve meeting minutes indicated that it was ready to hike interest rates quicker than analysts had anticipated. Tech company shares are high-growth stocks, which are particularly sensitive to rising interest rates and policy tightening. In turn, the Fed’s long-time-coming decision will likely curb future earnings potential and consequently the sector’s high valuations.
That tech stocks started 2022 on the back foot might be indicative of a change within the entire industry. Apple, Microsoft and Google owner Alphabet were the big winners in 2020 and 2021, according to one study conducted by the Financial Times. Tesla, Amazon, and Meta Platforms follow suit among the big winners, both for market capitalisation and company valuation.
However, the same study’s biggest losers reveal changing attitudes towards both Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valleys elsewhere in the world. Alibaba, the Chinese commerce group, was the study’s biggest loser, as tightening policy led to the company losing 43% in market value.
Elsewhere, Siliconites are dealing with similar policy blows. In 2020, Big Tech – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google – were found to be “anti-competitive”, after a 16-month investigation by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust. While American policymakers introduced a series of bills in the House and Senate to check Big Tech, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division are hard at work to determine the best way of enforcing these new antitrust laws.
The tech industry may be starting to feel the heat as changing policy attitudes will shape its fate in 2022. At the moment, the exact political and financial ramifications for tech leaders are unclear. However, one thing we do know is that the industry they propel forward is here to stay, regardless of whether we break it up or all move as one into the Metaverse.