There is clearly a lot of anger about the growing U.S. government snooping scandal. But investors aren't expressing any of it.
Despite a report that showed the NSA got a court order to receive phone records from telecom Verizon (VZ), shares rose nearly 3.5% Thursday. That made it the Dow's best performer. The stock was up again Friday.
Overnight, the story mushroomed into something much bigger, as reports of a government program called PRISM emerged. As part of that program, the NSA is reportedly mining for data from tech giants Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and AOL (AOL). It was not clear if any of these companies willingly participated.
Apple was the only stock in that group trading lower Friday, and that probably had more to do about concerns related to Apple's sales and profits. It looks like investors were more interested in the favorable jobs report than PRISM.
Still, traders on StockTwits were wondering if there eventually could be negative financial repercussions for Verizon or other tech firms because of the privacy concerns.
There are clear problems here with what the government is doing. But as I wrote yesterday, I am still not that concerned about this particular invasion of privacy. I realize I may be in the minority here. Still, what's the alternative? Not using phones anymore? Well, one trader did in fact call for just that.
I guess we could do that. (Note. I am not suggesting that anyone become a tech deadbeat.) But given how attached we all are to our gadgets, I seriously doubt anyone is going to stop updating their Facebook status on their phones, tablets or laptops. We could all go back to sending letters in the mail! Oh wait. The government can probably read that too.
Anyway, one trader noted that reports seemed to suggest that the overwhelming majority of information the government is looking for comes from just three companies.
First a correction. The Washington Post reported that it was 98% from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Not Facebook. If true, I guess that makes sense since those three dominate search. And you'd have to think that if the government really is snooping on the Web, search queries are far more interesting to surveillance groups than say, the apps, songs and movies you download from iTunes.
Finally, time for Reader Comment of the Week. Let's end with some levity. Earlier this week, SodaStream (SODA) was surging on reports that Pepsi (PEP) or Coca-Cola (KO) may want to buy it. Pepsi flatly (pun intended) denied the takeover talk. But that didn't stop me and others on Twitter from suggesting alternative suitors for SODA.
Ahh yes. An oldie but goodie from 2006 ... the pioneer days of YouTube!
AOL is learning the hard way that it's not easy to live up to Wall Street's hype.
Even though AOL (AOL) reported a 23% jump in net income for the first quarter thanks to solid growth in both display and search online advertising, shares tumbled nearly 10% on the news. AOL's profits missed forecasts and investors were also hoping for better overall revenue growth than the measly 2% year-over-year increase that MOREPaul R. La Monica - May 8, 2013 11:58 AM ET
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
Call them the dot-com survivors.
AOL (AOL), Amazon.com (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), Priceline (PCLN) and Yahoo (YHOO) were all major players at the height of Internet insanity in the late 1990s. They are all still around today MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jan 3, 2013 12:46 PM ET
It's the 21st century, and AOL's stock is soaring. And no -- those two facts are not mutually exclusive.
Shares of AOL (AOL), an Internet pioneer way back in the 1990s, spiked more than 15% Tuesday after the online content provider announced third-quarter revenues and earnings that beat analyst forecasts.
Investors are continuing to place bets that AOL will not only stop its internal bleeding but that a turnaround is afoot. MOREMaureen Farrell - Nov 6, 2012 12:31 PM ET
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, and Abbott Laboratories, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
On this Election Day, let's play a fun little game. If Yahoo (YHOO) CEOs were U.S. presidents, most of them would be unsuccessful one-term (or less) inhabitants of the Oval Office.
Terry Semel was like Jimmy Carter. MOREPaul R. La Monica - Nov 6, 2012 12:09 PM ET
Odds are you have never heard of Vringo, a relatively small company with an intellectual property portfolio covering various aspects of search and mobile technologies. But shares of Vringo (VRNG) surged more than 20% Monday after the company filed a patent infringement suit against the British subsidiary of Chinese telecom giant ZTE.
This is not the first legal action that Vringo has taken against one of the titans of tech. In MOREPaul R. La Monica - Oct 8, 2012 12:16 PM ET
AOL's stock fell 6% Thursday after shareholders defied an activist's attempt to unseat three directors by voting to re-elect all eight members of AOL's board, including CEO Tim Armstrong.
"On behalf of AOL's Board and management team, we want to thank our stockholders for their strong support throughout this process," said AOL in a statement.
One of AOL's biggest investors, activist hedge fund Starboard Value, was pushing shareholders to elect the new MOREHibah Yousuf - Jun 14, 2012 1:48 PM ET
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