Two critical factors are affecting Facebook, Apple stocks

Two critical factors are affecting Facebook, Apple stocks

Apple and Facebook both recorded top- and bottom-line beats in their quarterly reports Wednesday afternoon, but their stocks barely reacted to the news in after-market trading.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer suspects challenges for the tech titans may be afloat.

“While Facebook and Apple both reported strong numbers, I think their stocks should’ve been up much more than they are in [the] after hours,” the “Mad Money” host said. “I’m sensing some skepticism … creeping in about both of them and I suspect some of it has to do with twin constraints of time and government.”

So companies are in competition for the consumer’s attention. There are only so many hours in the day for content consumption, which leaves little time for the public to enjoy the bevy of products on the market, Cramer said. He pointed to the increasingly crowded video streaming sector as a pain point particularly for Apple’s soon-to-launch Apple TV Plus.

As for government, Cramer flagged that regulators are posing a threat to how the largest tech players can keep growing.

“The regulators don’t want any of these companies to create a one-stop shop [for content] because then they’d be too powerful,” he said.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been sounding the alarm on potential monopolistic practices in the giants of the technology industry, with antitrust probes launched into Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet.

“When it comes to FAANG, my acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet, time and government are far more important to their future earnings streams than the Fed or the trade war with China,” Cramer said. “But I don’t think most investors realize how critical these two factors have become.”

Investors should beware that consumer time restraints and government antitrust enforcement will “matter a whole lot more than the Fed, going forward,” the host argued.

“You need to factor in the clock and learn to separate the things that give you more minutes from the things that devour your time,” he said. “And you need to understand that the bigger Facebook and Amazon and Apple and Alphabet get, the more pushback they’ll get from Washington. Fact of life.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple.

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