Meta and Amazon beat profit expectations, as stock markets jump | Economy

Asian markets are recovering after US tech giants reported better-than-expected financial results.

Asian markets rallied after the release of better-than-expected results by Meta and Amazon, which sent the tech giants’ share prices higher after hours.

In Hong Kong, where stocks fell due to weak economic indicators in mainland China, the Hang Seng index rose about 2 percent in morning trading on Friday before paring its gains, while the index Japanese benchmark Nikkei climbed 1 percent.

India’s NSE NIFTY 50 index rose more than 1.5 percent.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, on Thursday reported revenue of $40.1 billion and profit of $14 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, far surpassing analysts’ forecasts.

Meta’s share price jumped more than 14 percent to above $445 in after-hours trading.

Meta reached a major milestone Thursday by becoming the first of its generation of tech unicorns – a company with a valuation of $1 billion before its IPO – to announce that it would pay shareholders a dividend set at 50 cents per share .

“We had a strong quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Amazon’s fourth-quarter results also beat expectations with sales of $170 billion, sending shares up as much as 9 percent.

Amazon’s AWS cloud business also posted strong results for the latest quarter, with revenue reaching $24.2 billion.

“This fourth quarter was a record-breaking holiday shopping season and capped off a strong 2023 for Amazon,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement.

Both Meta and Amazon have engaged in aggressive cost cutting, with the tech giants laying off around 48,000 employees between them since 2022.

Strong performance from tech titans added $280 billion to U.S. markets on Thursday, with the S&P500, NASDAQ Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average all closing on a positive note.

Meta and Amazon’s better-than-expected fourth-quarter results are a bright spot in a turbulent start to 2024, amid growing scrutiny from U.S. regulators over online security issues and alleged breaches antitrust laws.

Tech giant Apple also beat expectations with its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, but its stock fell 3.3% due to a 13% drop in iPhone sales in China, where local brands have reversed their once dominant position in the market.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported fourth-quarter financial results Tuesday that missed analysts’ forecasts, sending its shares down more than 6%.

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