Investors have been upbeat recently, and that's shown up in the performance of the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC). Despite lagging behind other benchmarks that rose to record highs last week, the Nasdaq has been able to move higher, and as of 6:30 a.m. EDT, Nasdaq futures were up 31 points to 15,372.
This week, five key Nasdaq stocks, including four of the fabled FAANG stocks, will report earnings. The results that Facebook (META 1.30%), Microsoft (MSFT 2.10%), Apple (AAPL 0.90%), Amazon (AMZN 2.57%) and Alphabet (GOOGL 1.96%) (GOOG 1.96%) post could help determine whether the bull market will continue or whether concerns about future growth could develop into a market correction.
Facebook starts things off
Facebook will report earnings on Monday afternoon after the closing bell. The company has been going through some challenges of late, with allegations from a whistleblower adding to long-standing controversies surrounding the social media giant. That has weighed on shares, but the earnings report will give investors a chance to return to fundamentals.
In particular, Facebook will need to demonstrate that it can keep growing user engagement along with maintaining its impressive monetization metrics. In addition, keeping costs in line will be essential to sustain profit growth.
Success in these areas won't stop regulators from attacking Facebook. However, it would reassure investors that the long-term picture for the company remains favorable.
Microsoft, Alphabet weigh in
On Tuesday, Microsoft and Alphabet will add their financial results to the mix. Microsoft investors expect the company's Office suite of business productivity software should continue to perform strongly, complementing its Azure cloud computing service. In addition, strength in the Xbox video game segment could also be a key contributor to overall performance for the software giant.
Meanwhile, Alphabet has garnered a reputation for being a value stock in the tech sector. The company behind the Google search engine should continue to see advertising activity pick up after a tough period a year ago, and investors are also pleased to see rising activity levels in the Google Cloud segment despite its lagging well behind Microsoft's Azure and the Amazon Web Services platform.
Apple, Amazon finish things off
Finally, Apple and Amazon will report their earnings results on Thursday afternoon. The two companies together cover a huge swath of the consumer economy, yet many investors will look beyond their most obvious businesses to see how other growth drivers are performing.
For Apple, expectations are high. The release of the iPhone 13 won't necessarily show up in this quarter's results, given that the company only started shipping the newest smartphone line in the last week of the period. Nevertheless, comments from the company could reveal what sort of reception the hot product is getting from consumers, along with other recently released products. By contrast, with shortages of key components across the tech sector, any negative comments about supply chain issues could weigh on the entire market.
Meanwhile, Amazon investors are also hoping to see how the company fares without founder Jeff Bezos in the CEO role. Some expect a potential pullback in business activity, given the big boost that the e-commerce segment got in the year-earlier period from waves of COVID-19 cases. Yet others believe that Amazon might be understating how well it's likely to fare, especially given the rising importance of Amazon Web Services to its overall success.
These five stocks are huge and together could have a big impact not just on the Nasdaq but on the entire market. Stay tuned throughout the week to see how the five tech giants fare, and you'll have a better idea of the market's likely direction as well as the long-term promise of these massively successful businesses.