FAANG is the acronym given to Meta (formerly Facebook) (NASDAQ: META), Apple (AAPL -0.89%), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the parent of Google. Four of the five FAANG stocks are in the top-10 of the most valuable U.S. companies by market capitalization. The exception is Netflix, which has seen its stock price drop over 60% year to date.
Now, what if you had to choose just one of these as your favorite stock for the second half of 2022? My top FAANG choice would be Apple. Down over 8% this year (it was down 28% back in mid-June), the tech stock has had a rough start to the year. Still, the company stands as the most valuable public company in the U.S. and even with its size, there's still room for it to grow -- and in so many ways.
Let's take a look at some.
A step in the right direction
Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a deal to show all MLS matches worldwide for 10 years beginning in 2023. The matches will have no restrictions or local blackouts, a first in major professional sports. The partnership itself is great for sports fans, but also for investors. It's a sign that Apple is willing to put more resources into becoming a competitor in the streaming world.
Apple TV+ subscriptions lag way behind Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max, but that's to be expected considering it just launched in November 2019. Does that mean I think Apple TV+ will catch up to the other streaming services? Not really. But I do know the MLS is the fastest-growing soccer league in the world and that if Apple wants to compete, it's going to require partnerships like this, not just relying on original content being enough to bring consumers over.
It was only a matter of time
When Apple first announced Apple Pay in 2014, it was the company's first time making a splash in the financial services space, but not many people looked into it too much. It was more about the convenience of paying with your phone than anything else. Once the company announced Apple Card in 2019, it became a little more evident it was getting serious about financial services. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs (GS -0.58%), using the investment bank to approve applications and fund the loans for the Apple Card.
Apple Pay Later, its most recent rollout, should be a sign to the financial services industry that the tech company has come to play. Apple Pay Later is the company's move into the buy now, pay later industry; it lets you split purchases into four equal payments over six weeks with no fees or interest. But the feature itself isn't why this move is so important.
Apple Pay Later will be the first time Apple underwrites and funds loans by itself. The good news: no more paying a bank to do it. The potentially not-so-good news: Apple has to absorb losses itself. Considering the company brought in over $365 billion in revenue in 2021, I'm sure the board of directors is not losing sleep over that possibility.
It always comes back to this
The one thing Apple has that no other financial institution can duplicate is that well over 100 million people in the U.S. have an iPhone (more than 1 billion worldwide). And with that iPhone comes access to more data than many of us can fathom. Even if Apple's solo start into underwriting gets off to a rocky start (which it possibly will), diving deeper into financial services is a way to deepen the relationship with customers -- which is key to long-term success.
If you think the iPhone is a one-stop shop now, just wait until it's a fully functional online bank in your hand. The fintech world should be on high alert.