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!
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.
I called my mother yesterday from my cell phone at 1:07 p.m. ET. The conversation lasted for five minutes.
Since I'm a Verizon (VZ) subscriber, I guess there's a good chance that the government already knows MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jun 6, 2013 12:04 PM ET
Netflix has more competition, but investors seem to think that the streaming video market is big enough for both of them.
Coinstar, the parent of Redbox, and Verizon (VZ) said Tuesday that they had reached an agreement with movie studios and device makers to "bring thousands of popular movies to consumers at home and on the go."
The joint venture, called Redbox Instant, will cost $8 per month, which is what Netflix MOREBen Rooney - Dec 12, 2012 1:07 PM ET
Most people don't think of credit card companies as being warm and fuzzy but that's not stopping investors from buying.
Visa's stock hit a new 52-week high Tuesday and MasterCard is just shy of that mark for its stock.
It's been a long road.
Back in 2005, a group of merchants sued Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and other credit card processors for allegedly conspiring to fix so-called swipe fees at unfairly high levels. MORECatherine Tymkiw - Nov 20, 2012 12:46 PM ET
Could MetroPCS finally be getting its knight in shining armor? Investors sure think so.
Deutsche Telekom confirmed Tuesday that it was in talks with MetroPCS to merge the beleaguered wireless carrier with its T-Mobile USA unit.
MetroPCS has been bleeding subscribers. But it has a nice cash cushion. At the end of the second quarter, MetroPCS had $2.3 billion of cash and cash equivalents, and short-term investments. That's nothing to sneeze MORECatherine Tymkiw - Oct 2, 2012 12:35 PM ET
In a classic case of be careful what you wish for, shares of AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) both tumbled more than 2% Friday morning even though pre-orders for Apple's (AAPL) eagerly anticipated iPhone 5 sold out in under an hour. Meanwhile, Apple hit another all-time high and continued its march toward $700.
Why are investors dumping Big Red and Ma Bell? My colleague David Goldman has already explained how the MOREPaul R. La Monica - Sep 14, 2012 11:27 AM ET
Investors have plenty of questions about the future of RadioShack following a dismal earnings report, but the electronics retail is still claiming to have the answers.
As it delivered a surprise $21 million loss for the second quarter, RadioShack (RSH) said it would also suspend its dividend program to help bolster its balance sheet. A balance sheet that's saddled with $679 million of debt, including an upcoming debt maturity of $375 MOREHibah Yousuf - Jul 25, 2012 12:25 PM ET
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) got off to a smoking start this year after a nightmarish 2011. But like the rest of the market (and especially momentum stocks), Netflix has come crashing back to Earth. The stock is now actually down almost 10% in 2012. Do investors think that the video market is dead?
Take a look at Coinstar (CSTR). The owner of the bargain DVD rental kiosk service Redbox is MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jun 15, 2012 12:18 PM ET
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