Tech stocks put in what could probably best be called a mixed week led by activity in the semiconductor sector and the latest in the drama between Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Elon Musk.
Chip stocks were rattled almost from the opening bell on Monday, as companies and investors continued to suss out the implications of new U.S. rules designed to keep certain semiconductor technologies out of the hands of the Chinese military. The regulations that went into effect earlier in the month prevent U.S. companies from working with Chinese chip manufacturers.
By mid-week, several U.S. chip-equipment makers such as Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) and Applied Materials (AMAT) had reportedly begun pausing their operations in China in order to get in line with the new American guidelines. However, despite a brief reprieve on the stock market, the sector swooned on Friday, and tech bellwethers such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) joined the chip leaders in the red.
The impact of the chip-industry restrictions was such that investors turned their backs on Chinese Internet companies such as Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU).
Intel (INTC), which fell to a new 52-week-low of $24.59 a share on Thursday, was also dealing with the impact of a report that it will soon lay off 20% of its sales and marketing staff.
Apple (AAPL) didn’t have anything to say about it, but reports surfaced saying the company will soon release a mixed-reality headset that will include an iris-scanning feature that will allow people to make payments and log in to Apple (AAPL) services and applications.
Apple (AAPL) was also reportedly set on not offering a set of new employee benefits to workers at its only unionized retail store, in Towson, Maryland.
Twitter (TWTR) and Elon Musk were relatively quiet compared to recent weeks, as the two parties appear headed to an October 28 court date in Delaware. Twitter (TWTR) shares even got a lift earlier in the week amid reports that some of the financiers behind Musk’s $44B acquisition are still backing the Tesla (TSLA) chief executive’s efforts. Meanwhile, Twitter (TWTR) claimed that Musk is under federal investigation due to his erratic back-and-forth over his massive acquisition saga.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) set a date for the debut of its upcoming ad-supported subscription option. The “Basic with Ads” option, which will cost $6.99 a month, is now set to roll out on November 3. And the potential benefits from Netflix’s (NFLX) new subscription tier received some upbeat views from Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne.
Ride-sharing giants Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) hit some bumpy roads when the Biden Administration issued a new proposal that could result in gig-economy workers being classified as regular employees. Initial reaction among Uber (UBER) shareholders, in particular was negative, as the company’s shares fell more than 10% on Tuesday.
And Meta Platforms (META) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg used the company’s Connect conference to show off a new virtual headset that comes with a price tag of $1,500.