Meta Platforms (META) and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg deserve to feel good. META stock soared by over 20% last Friday. Its market capitalization zoomed past four commas to $1.22 trillion. It easily surpassed its 2021 peak.
Meta slashed costs through its Year of Efficiency mandate. It posted profits tripling in the fourth quarter. The small dividend comes after the firm increased its cash and cash equivalents to $65.4 billion, up from $40.7 billion the year before. The dividend might attract income investors to move from falling REITs to the popular social networking platform.
Meta also said it would buy back $50 billion of its shares. Its pivot out of the failed metaverse and toward artificial intelligence makes strategic sense. It cannot fall behind either Microsoft (MSFT) or Alphabet (GOOG).
Expect trading volume for the Nasdaq ETF (QQQ) to rise again today. Last Friday, bears closed their bet against the index when 188.6 million SQQQ Ultrashort QQQ 3x traded hands. The market handled 143 million in daily trading volume on the Bear 3X semiconductor ETF (SOXS) on Feb. 2.
The tech’s manic trading overshadowed the economic headwinds ahead. New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) slashed its dividend and increased its loss provisions. Losses in the regional bank sector may increase as firms record commercial real-estate-related losses. In March, the bank term funding program (BTFP) expires. The Fed may renew it to continue its support for struggling banks. Regional banks to watch include PNC Financial (PNC), Truist (TFC), and KeyCorp (KEY).