There's some rumbling within the FANG fraternity. The acronym that represents four of the tech world's hottest stocks through last year -- Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) -- is growing stale, and not just because Google changed its name to Alphabet a couple of years ago.
Half of the FANG components have started to fall out of favor with investors. Facebook is trading 11% lower in 2018, and it's 6% away from hitting a fresh 52-week low. Privacy concerns are weighing on the platform's popularity. Alphabet is the other laggard, though it's not faring as badly as Facebook. The stock is up nearly 10% this year, and revenue growth is accelerating for the third year in a row. Investors aren't buying it. The future of paid search is hazy as we wean ourselves off of search engines, and with that, Google's dominance in online advertising. CNBC reported on Monday that a couple of media agencies claim that some brands are moving 50% to 60% of their Google Search marketing budgets to Amazon.
The other two FANG stocks -- the ones in the middle of the acronym -- are doing just fine. Amazon became just the second stock in the country to briefly cross a $1 billion market cap. Netflix continues to dominate the premium video streaming market. Amazon and Netflix are trading 59% and 82% higher in 2018. They could use a new pair of market-beaters on the outside, even if they're old-school tech icons. Replace Facebook and Alphabet with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and you have -- drum roll, please -- MANA.
What's old is new again
Apple has been a market darling since the iPhone rolled out a dozen years ago. It's the world's most valuable company, and its prospects improve with every passing product line update. Microsoft is rising from the dead. Revenue grew 14% in fiscal 2018 -- that may not seem like much, but it's the software giant's headiest top-line growth in eight years.
Microsoft and Apple are bellwethers again, and more importantly for our purposes, they're outpacing the market. Microsoft and Apple shares are trading 31% and 34% higher, respectively, in 2018. Both stocks have nearly doubled since the start of last year.
MANA may not have the same ring to it as FANG outside of Polynesian spiritualists, but in a world of results, it gets the job done. FANG stocks have returned an average of 35% year to date, trounced by MANA with its 52% gain. This isn't just a one-year fluke. Go back to the end of 2016, and you'll see a 101% average gain for FANG but a 127% pop for MANA.
It also doesn't hurt that MANA offers something FANG does not: dividends. Microsoft and Apple aren't payout monsters. They're yielding less than 2% apiece. However, it's a trickle of quarterly income that Facebook and Alphabet have yet to provide.
There was a time for FANG, and when all four of them were hitting new highs this summer, it didn't seem right to break up the band as the mother of all tech gauges. Now that Facebook is sliding and Alphabet is showing signs of vulnerability, it's time to hop on a new collection of growth stocks. Sleep on MANA for a bit. It'll grow on you. It's certainly already growing in portfolios across the country.