Q: I keep hearing "FANG stocks" referenced in investment articles and on financial news. What does it mean?

The term "FANG" is an acronym for tech stocks Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Google (now Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)).

These stocks are often grouped together by market analysts because they have been some of the best-performing tech stocks of the past several years and are extremely popular among investors. As of Sept. 26, 2017:

  • Facebook has climbed 331% since its 2012 IPO.
  • Amazon.com has more than tripled since the beginning of 2015 and has returned a staggering 22,490% over the past 20 years.
  • Netflix has risen by 2,250% since 2010.
  • In about 13 years as a public company, Alphabet has gained 1,780%.

In addition, it looks like the strong performance might not be over yet: All four FANG stocks have handily beaten the S&P 500 so far in 2017.

Analysts are split on the future direction of the FANG stocks. Many say that they're priced for unrealistically high levels of growth and are now in a bubble. On the other hand, some experts say that the outperformance of these stocks could continue for years to come, especially if they keeping delivering growth and earnings that beat expectations.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.