Don't look now, but tech giants are partying like it's 2017 again. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) -- were all the rage a couple of years ago, when they were grouped together as the FANG acronym. The stocks proved mortal after seemingly peaking last summer, making it appear as if the four bellwethers were done as market leaders. It's been a different story in 2019.

FANG stocks are collectively beating the market this year. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet are up 56.3%, 33.9%, 39.4, and 10.6%, respectively, year to date. The S&P 500 is up a robust 20.2% year to date, but still well below the combined 35.1% return for FANG's four components. FANG is back, and some may argue that it never went away.

Two actors wearing blindfolds in a scene from the movie Bird Box.

Image source: Netflix.

Taking a bite

Facebook is leading the way this year, a welcome contrast to last year when it dragged the four-stock index lower. The social networking behemoth is actually the biggest gainer among all stateside-listed stocks with market caps greater than $100 billion. Growth may be decelerating at Facebook, but a 26% top-line gain in its latest quarter is still respectable. With 2.38 billion monthly active users, it's hard to bet against Facebook.

Amazon continues to be the undisputed top dog in e-commerce. It's hard to fathom any other company having the same kind of success with Prime Day -- rolling out this week as a two-day Christmas in July shopping event -- that Amazon will be having. 

Netflix seems to be coated in Teflon these days. The shares are hot despite losing two of its most popular licensed sitcoms in recent weeks and the threat of several new rival services rolling out in the coming months. Netflix reports fresh financial results this week, the first of the FANG stocks to step up this earnings season.

Finally, we have Alphabet bringing up the rear. It's hard to get mad with the search giant's double-digit percentage gain in 2019, but this is the second year in a row that Alphabet is losing to the market. 

The outperformance of FANG in 2019 despite Alphabet as a market laggard doesn't take away from the gauge as a market tastemaker. The very purpose of lumping a handful of stocks in the same basket is so that there's diversification. Three of the four components trouncing the market again are enough to lift FANG and make the four-letter acronym popular again. 

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.