Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, earnings preview: The "big tech" backlash has yet to reach Wall Street

 
Lynsey Barber
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It's a US tech earnings bonanza this week (Source: Getty)

A flurry of earnings from the world's biggest tech companies are this week expected to show consumer and investor appetite has not yet been dampened by a growing backlash.

Apple, Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft are worth almost three trillion dollars between them and make up half of the top 10 most highly valued publicly traded companies in the world.

In recent weeks they have been compared to drugs, tobacco and banks in the media, while governments have set their sights on curbing their influence. George Soros at Davos warned of their growing power.

Read more: Bank of Facebook? Tech giants don't threaten banks (for now), says S&P

But such sentiment is unlikely to apparent on Wednesday and Thursday when they're due to report their latest quarterly figures.

Sales of the £999 iPhone X are expected to bring Apple a fresh record for revenues.

Despite concerns over supply and potential demand for such a pricey device, analysts are forecasting a rise of 11 per cent on the previous year to $86.8bn (£61.3bn) as the higher price makes up for slower growth in the number of devices sold.

Two big investors at the start of the year called on the tech giant to work on better controls to limit kid's access to phones over fears for their mental health.

Estimated revenue Q1 '18 Actual revenue Q1 '17 Rise
Apple $86.75bn $78.35bn 11%

Facebook meanwhile is on Wall Street's radar after it announced a major shift in its approach to the news feed that could have an impact on its cash cow advertising business which brings in the majority of revenues.

Billionaire boss Mark Zuckerberg said it would make business and media less prominent for users, instead changing the algorithm to promote family and friend connections after investigations into fake news in the US and UK and its influence on elections.

Read more: Apple's been slapped with another analyst downgrade

The move just over a fortnight ago sent shares sliding. However, analysts believe it is unlikely to have a significant impact on ad revenue.

“I don’t think there will be much impact from the news feed changes on how advertisers think about Facebook," said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "They use Facebook for its reach and its targeting, with or without the publisher content. At the end of the day, Facebook is still very powerful and attractive to advertisers."

Analysts at Barclays believe it will shave only “low single digits” off its revenue growth forecasts.

Estimated revenue Q4 '17 Actual revenue Q4 '16 Rise
Amazon $59.83bn $43.74bn 37%
Facebook $12.52bn $8.81bn 45%
Alphabet $31.86bn $26.06bn 22%

Revenues at Google parent Alphabet are expected to come in at $31.9bn in the fourth quarter, a rise of 22 per cent on the same period last year

Amazon sales are expected to keep on booming, with analysts predicting a 37 per cent rise year-on-year to $59.8bn.

Meanwhile Microsoft, which started the year with its market cap breaking the $700bn mark is expected to see its shift to the cloud pay off with $28.4bn revenue forecast.

Estimated revenue Q2 '18 Actual revenue Q2 '17 Rise
Microsoft $28.38bn $25.84bn 10%

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