What’s happening: Global markets have experienced wide swings, amid fears of the pandemic pushing the biggest economies into recession. Leading indices have gained and lost hundreds of points during the course of a trading session.
US stock trading was halted twice last week and once this week to give a breather to panic-stricken traders, while major European stock indices, China's Shanghai Composite and Japan's Nikkei have matched the volatility.
Where eagles dare: Companies are facing a double whammy with reduced demand due to a decline in consumer spending and supply disruptions caused by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
In the meantime, however, the world’s biggest companies are taking initiatives to protect the interest of their stakeholders. Here’s a look at the companies that were lauded by President Donald Trump during his election campaign and termed as “MAGA” - Microsoft, Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.
These four tech companies didn’t become giants by fluke. Even amid supply glitches and market shocks, the world’s four largest companies by market cap continue to forge ahead.
Microsoft: This Redmond-based company is gearing up to announce its latest subscription product on March 30. The software behemoth has been working on a consumer version of its subscription service Microsoft 365, a package that includes Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Windows 10. The consumer version of the service is expected to include Office 365, Outlook Mobile, Skype and many other services.
Apart from this offering, likely to be named Microsoft 365 Life, the company just announced a new interactive called Bing map that provides information on the COVID-19 outbreak. The map shows details of where the cases are being reported, the number of cases reported as well as those that are currently active, recovered or deceased.
Apple: The iPhone maker was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak in China but is now reopening its stores in the country. Apple is expected to make a comeback by launching new iPad Pro models. The new iPad is expected to include rear triple-lens camera with 3D depth sensing and may include a new Smart Keyboard.
Apple is also working on cheaper models, including a small iPhone SE2 and a bigger iPhone SE. These models will replace the expensive Face ID with Touch ID.
Alphabet: Google has announced plans to launch a national website in partnership with the US government aimed at providing coronavirus information to the public. The website will provide information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing. President Donald Trump said that the site will help people determine whether they need to be tested for COVID-19 and share details of the nearest testing centers.
Amazon: The ecommerce giant announced another 100,000 job openings to facilitate the increase in online orders, with the coronavirus hurting retail. The company plans to add new full-time and part-time employees to meet the rise in demand. The company is also expected to increase wages from around $15 an hour to $17 an hour through April end.
Amazon has also set up a $25 million fund, known as the Amazon Relief Fund, which will allow fulfillment centers and delivery employees to apply for grants of up to two weeks’ pay in case they test positive for coronavirus.
How their shares have performed: Microsoft’s shares have lost around 21% in the past month, while Apple’s stock is down 22%. Shares of Google have plummeted more than 26% in the month, while Amazon’s stock has dropped 15%.