Top Tech Stocks
Technology stocks were a significant anchor on stock prices Monday, with shares of tech companies in the S&P 500 sinking over 2.2% in value today while the Philadelphia semiconductor index was showing a more than 2.3% slump.
In industry news,
Facebook ( FB ) weighed on other technology stocks - along with the broader U.S. markets - sinking over 8% to a session low of $170.06 a share, after U.S. and European lawmakers called for investigations following weekend reports the social networking company ignored a security breach that allowed a data mining company with ties to President Trump's 2016 election campaign to steal and "weaponize" personal information of 50 million Facebook users. Citing a former employee and whistleblower, the New York Times and the UK's Observer newspapers reported the Cambridge Analytica data firm used information taken without authorization to build software algorythyms that predicted and influenced individual voting choices. In addition to working with Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Cambridge Analytica also worked with the team that eventually won the UK referendum over leaving the European Union.
Among technology stocks moving on news:
+ Orbotech ( ORBK ) jumped out to a record high of $65.75 a share, climbing almost 10%, after agreeing to a $3.2 billion buyout offer from rival chipmaker KLA-Tencor ( KLAC ). Under terms of the proposed transaction, Orbotech investors will receive $69.02 for each of their shares, a 15.2% premium over Friday's closing price and consisting of $38.86 in cash and 0.25 of a KLA-Tencor share for each Orbotech share. KLA-Tencor is projecting around $50 million in total cost synergies on an annualized basis within 12 to 24 months following the closing of the deal. It expects the purchase will immediately add to its revenue growth model, adjusted per-share earnings and free cash flow. KLA-Tencor Monday also authorized a $2 billion stock buyback program, expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months after the deal closes by the end of the year.
In other sector news:
- Twitter ( TWTR ) was a little more than 1% lower in late Monday trading, recovering somewhat from a more than 3% mid-day decline, amid reports the micro-blogging platform is preparing to follow Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG) and Facebook ( FB ) by banning advertisements for cryptocurrencies amid looming regulatory intervention in the sector. According to Sky News, the new advertising policy likely will be begin in about two weeks and will ban ads for initial coin offerings, token sales and cryptocurrency wallets globally.
- Apple ( AAPL ) was significantly lower during Monday trading, with the tech giant receiving little apparent help from reports it is designing and producing its own device screens for the first time at a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters. The company began by making a small number of the screens for testing purposes as part of its plans to bring the design of key components in-house, according to Bloomberg.
- Qualcomm ( QCOM ) was falling Monday afternoon, dropping almost 4% to a session low of $58.25 a share, after the chipmaker late Friday said former board chairman Paul Jacobs will not be re-nominated to join the company's board at its upcoming sharekholders' meeting on Friday, March 23. It said the Qualcomm board reached that decision following after Jacobs last week told the company he was exploring a potential going-private transaction.