FAANGs make it difficult to eat a balanced diet

Bloomberg Opinion Today

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Today's Agenda

My, What Big FAANGs You Have

Just as the stock market isn't the economy, five technology companies don't represent the entire stock market — but you'd be forgiven for thinking so. Of the 9,000 or so companies in indexes that track the global stock market, just three — Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. — were responsible for 25% of the gain over the past five years, Nir Kaissar writes. The rally in U.S. tech stocks this year has overshadowed a dismal performance for industries such as automobiles, banks, energy and packaged food, where the economic pain and uncertainty brought on by Covid-19 is perhaps better reflected. On Tuesday, Amazon, Apple, Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Netflix Inc. all set new closing highs. And the Nasdaq 100 index climbed to a record, led by a 39% surge in shares of Zoom Video Communications Inc. — yes, that Zoom, the only place where it's now acceptable to pair a button-down shirt with sweatpants.

This trend — in markets, not fashion — is causing a dilemma for money managers. Conventional investing wisdom says to maintain a diversified portfolio to mitigate risk. But, as Nir notes, that would also mean missing out on the outsize gains in the tech sphere. Not chasing the market fad could cause money managers to lose clients, but so could chasing the market, as witnessed in the dot-com crash.

If you missed the Zoom boom, though, don't worry because it has further to go, Tae Kim writes. Zoom's revenue more than quadrupled in the second quarter, and it's continuing to add users. Zoom is such a must-have service that Facebook Inc. and Google are adding support for it on their own home devices even though both giants have their own videoconferencing tools. Time to call it FAANGZ?

Further FAANG reading: Worried about Big Tech stocks' dominance over the S&P 500 index? It's even more extreme in China, whose own club is known as ATM. — Shuli Ren

Congress Is Worsening the Hunger Crisis

The world's children may have been largely spared by Covid-19, but the pandemic is killing them another way: hunger. The public-health crisis and recession have exacerbated wealth inequality, eroded consumers' purchasing power and shut down a place poorer families count on to feed their kids: school. Where public dining is restricted, farmers that supply restaurants have struggled to redirect their distribution to grocery stores, and a series of outbreaks at meat-processing facilities led to a shortage. This cascading effect has caused paralysis in the global food supply chain to the point that more people could potentially die each day of hunger linked to Covid-19 than from the virus itself.

This shouldn't be the case in a wealthy nation like the U.S., yet as of late July, about 16 million children in the country faced food shortages, more than triple the peak number who went hungry during the 2008 recession, Bloomberg's editorial board writes. Congress could help by restoring pandemic unemployment benefits and school-lunch compensation, and should go even further by redesigning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) to have it automatically increase aid during a downturn. Food assistance is a smart use of taxpayer money because it can stimulate the economy. Read the rest of the editorial here.

JPMorgan Dreams of Vacations

Some of us are still lamenting all the travel points we racked up in pre-Covid days that are useless for the trips and honeymoons we now can't take. But like many of us wish we could do, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is apparently deciding to skip right over 2020 and is gearing up for a travel boon. The bank is already pitching consumers on yet another travel rewards credit card that offers 5% cash back, in an effort to further its lead over rivals, Brian Chappatta writes. Enticing, but does it come with a mask?

Further personal finance reading: For Black women and women of color — mothers, in particular, who are bearing the brunt of the crisis burden — building a cash cushion and turning to community members to share child-care responsibilities is prudent financial planning. — Kimberly Seals Allers

Stop Worrying About 'Cancel Culture'

Gosh, young people can be so uptight, what with their political correctness and all — or at least that's what some people worry. But fear not, the yutes have not lost their sense of humor (even if they are too young to name that movie). The meteoric rise of TikTok, in all its irreverence and crass inside jokes, shows why "cancel culture" isn't destined to take over America, writes Tyler Cowen.

Telltale Charts

Low Treasury yields have resulted in a relative weakening of the U.S. dollar, just as President Donald Trump would like — and as John Authers predicted. He wonders whether U.S. stocks are next.

Further Reading

A California bill requiring Uber and Lyft to treat their contractors as employees isn't what drivers want. States that mimic the law risk losing these services. — Jared Dillian

Facebook, go ahead, take news sharing away. Everything was better when it was just a place to post baby photos and snoop on former classmates anyway. — David Fickling

In a contested election, Congress will have to turn to the 133-year-old Electoral Count Act, which is just ambiguous enough to leave a lot of unanswered "what ifs." — Cass R. Sunsein

Investing in the arts and allowing for safe, outdoor music and theater performances will propel cities' economic recovery. — Kenneth S. Rogoff and Jenny Gersten

Belarus's future won't be bright if Russia keeps Alexander Lukashenko's regime on life support. — Clara Ferreira Marques


New York City will delay reopening schools until Sept. 21.

Apple is ordering at least 75 million 5G-enabled iPhones for later this year.

U.S. health advisers find no data to support Trump-backed plasma therapy.

Kominers's Conundrums Hint

If you're still stuck on our sequence remix, maybe try sampling from each in a search engine — the big numbers, especially, can't show up in too many places. And once you've identified all the sequences, don't forget to fill in what's missing from each one. Soon enough, you may find you can name something that sounds like an answer. — Scott Duke Kominers


Amazon workers are hanging smartphones in trees.

Biden campaign makes signs for "Animal Crossing" gamers' virtual yards. (h/t Scott Duke Kominers)

Pilot to air-traffic control: "We just passed a guy in a jetpack."

Every favorite summer dessert by state.

Note: Please send travel rewards and complaints to Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.net.

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