Amazon and Apple outperformed expectations during a bleak earnings season.

A crowded period of results from the world's largest tech firms has been marked by misses and uncertainty, indicating that the pandemic-era boom has peaked.

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Amazon and Apple

Amazon and Apple delivered forecast-topping results on Thursday, providing some solace in an earnings period marred by inflation, economic turmoil, and war. A crowded period of results from the world’s largest tech firms has been marked by misses and uncertainty, indicating that the pandemic-era boom has peaked.

Amazon exceeded revenue estimates in the quarter, reaching $121 billion, while revenue at its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, increased to $5.7 billion. After-hours trading saw a 12-percentage-point increase.

Apple’s product sales fell to $63.4 billion from the same period a year ago, but the drop was more than offset by an increase in services revenue to $19.6 billion, according to earnings figures.

Apple’s CFO, Luca Maestri, said in a statement, “Our June quarter results continued to demonstrate our ability to manage our business effectively despite the challenging operating environment.

Fears of a recession, a strong dollar, shrinking advertising budgets, and inflation are all headwinds at the moment.

“Amazon managed fairly well through the second quarter despite challenging macroeconomic conditions and additional costs weighing on its bottom line,” said analyst Andrew Lipsman.

Microsoft and Facebook owner Meta both cited the negative effects of a strong dollar on their businesses: when the US currency gains too much value, it can make products more expensive overseas or eat away at a favourable exchange rate.

The social media behemoth blamed the dollar for the company’s first year-on-year revenue decline since going public in 2012.

In addition to the general economic downturn, companies like Netflix and Meta are facing fierce competition from rivals – and both have reported losing ground.

Between quarters, Meta lost about two million monthly users, while Netflix lost nearly a million paying customers, which was less than expected.

Nonetheless, Netflix stock is up about a percent in the last five days, with investors possibly optimistic after the company forecasted a subscriber rebound.

Despite Google parent Alphabet missing revenue and profit targets, markets appeared to be relieved.

The bad news from the Silicon Valley behemoth was unsurprising, as the flow of online ad dollars that fuels the company’s fortunes have slowed as inflation, war, and other ills plague the overall economy.

“However, with its massive market share in search advertising, Google is relatively well positioned to weather the coming storm,” analyst Evelyn Mitchell said.

The damage was uneven as advertisers tightened their belts and Apple’s privacy changes ate into firms’ sales of expensive but highly targeted ads.

Meta’s earnings have suffered, and with a share price that has fallen by roughly half since February, it’s clear that investors are still concerned about the company’s future.

Analysts noted that Meta’s reported 14% drop in average price per ad was a significant change after an 8% drop in the first quarter.

“The good news, if you can call it that, is that its competitors in digital advertising are also slowing,” analyst Debra Aho Williamson said.

“We are not satisfied with the results we are delivering, regardless of the current headwinds,” California-based Snap said in a letter to investors last week.

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