The last week of October was fairly busy -- and fairly negative -- for tech stocks. Both social media giants Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) disappointed investors, while consumer electronics giant Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) posted a significant drop in earnings. Video game publishers were a lone bright spot, with both Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) surging to the upside.
There were also several major product announcements, including a new smartphone, wearable fitness tracker, and PC.
Social media gets slammed
As of the close on Thursday, Facebook shares had lost more than 8% of their value this week. Twitter was hit twice as hard, with shares falling more than 16%. In both cases, the sell off was prompted by a disappointing quarter.
Although Twitter's earnings, revenue and active user metrics came in better than expected, Twitter's stock was still hit hard. Investors, who had placed a large premium on the fast-growing social network were likely looking for Twitter to not just beat, but blow away its guidance. In the wake of its earnings report, Twitter shook up its ranks, with a few high-profile employees leaving the company.
Facebook suffered a similar fate, with shares falling in spite of quarter that exceeded estimates. Like Twitter, Facebook's stock is valued aggressively, but more than expectations, Facebook shares may have stumbled due to guidance. In particular, Facebook said 2015 would be a major investment year for the company, with expenses growing 50-70%.
Samsung's profit falls
Earlier this month, Samsung warned that its quarterly results would be disappointing, as its smartphone sales have begun to struggle in the face of rising competition. Samsung lived up to that warning this week, revealing that its operating profit had declined 60% on an annual basis.
Samsung competes in nearly every segment of the smartphone market with a wide ranging portfolio. At the low-end, the company is losing out to Chinese competitors -- Xiaomi is now the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer -- and at the high-end, it's feeling pressure from Apple and other Android OEMs such as its South Korean rival LG. Samsung plans to dramatically overhaul its smartphone portfolio, but results may not materialize for several quarters.
Video game publishers beat expectations
Both Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive -- two of the largest video game publishers in the world -- reported earnings this week, and both companies exceeded expectations.
Although Take-Two's results were down significantly from last year, both earnings and revenue exceeded analyst expectations. Take-Two also boosted its full-year outlook, as the company should benefit from several major releases this fall, including a rerelease of Grand Theft Auto 5 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Electronic Arts posted similar results, exceeding expectations and raising its guidance. Electronic Arts had a strong quarter with the release of several new entries in its popular sports franchises -- FIFA, Madden, NHL -- and additional digital content for its first-person shooter Titanfall.
In addition to earnings, there were several new products announced this week: Microsoft Band, Hewlett-Packard's Sprout and Verizon's Droid Turbo.
Microsoft Band is a $200 fitness tracker that monitors vitals and relays messages from a paired smartphone. It works across all major mobile platforms and interfaces with several mobile apps. If it succeeds, it should give Microsoft a successful product in the rapidly growing market of fitness wearables.
Hewlett-Packard's Sprout is a new all-in-one Windows PC defined by its usual interface. Rather than a traditional mouse and keyboard, sprout uses a touchpad and a system of cameras and projectors to offer an interactive, responsive touch display. At nearly $2000, it's quite expensive, but much different than any other PC on the market.
The Droid Turbo is a modified version of the Moto X exclusive to Verizon Wireless. It's about the same size as the Moto X, but offers far superior battery, camera and slightly boosted internals. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer a customizable body like the Moto X, but should entice some Android power users to switch (or stay) with the carrier.