FAANG Is Dead: A Timeless Lesson for Equity Investors

For several years, the largest US technology and new media companies were widely seen a cluster of similar stocks. Not anymore. The recent divergence of the so-called FAANGs reminds us why fundamentals should always trump fads for long-term equity investors.

It’s one of the most widely known acronyms on Wall Street in recent years, even as it became clumsier to pronounce. First came the FANGs—Facebook (now Meta Platforms), Amazon, Netflix and Google. Apple later joined to create the FAANGs, and more recently, a revitalized Microsoft came aboard to the FAANMGs. The acronym reflected a popular view that these stocks were made from the same mold. And their performance was highly correlated, especially during the pandemic, when demand for digital services surged. As a result, these six stocks comprised nearly 39% of the Russell 1000 Growth Index, and 24% of the S&P 500 at the end of 2021.

Market Correction Amplifies Differences

Much has changed during this year’s correction. While all six stocks have declined, Netflix and Meta fell harder than the others. The correlation has faded, and returns have diverged (Display).

In recent years, we’ve frequently warned of concentration risk in US equity markets. When the FAANGs rose in tandem, passive investors enjoyed handsome returns but also accumulated a hefty weighting in the priciest US mega-cap names. In our view, each company should be researched and held based on its merits, using a disciplined investing approach and at measured weights.