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If you’ve been investing for a few years, you may have heard of FANG or FAANG stocks — and you may be wondering if those terms are still used.
Big tech has changed a lot during the 2010s and 2020s, and the acronym for the biggest tech stocks has changed, too. FANG became FAANG, then FAAMG or MAMAA, depending on whom you ask.
Here’s why the acronym keeps changing and what one financial advisor says about investing in big tech stocks today.
What are FANG stocks and FAANG stocks?
Investment pundits Jim Cramer and Bob Lang popularized the term in 2013. Cramer added Apple to the group in 2017, coining FAANG.
The FAANG stocks grew rapidly during the mid- to late 2010s, becoming increasingly influential over the stock market.
At the end of 2014, the FAANG stocks accounted for about 7.4% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500. By the end of 2019, that share had nearly doubled to about 14.4%.
Over that same period, the combined market cap of the FAANG stocks grew by about 178.5%, while the S&P 500 grew by about 46.5%.
However, the group has run into turbulence as rising inflation and rising interest rates have hit tech stocks especially hard.
The evolution of FAANG and big tech
The FANG/FAANG label has become outdated for several reasons.
Some of the company initials that make up the acronym are no longer correct. Google’s parent company changed its name to Alphabet in October 2015, although it still trades under the ticker symbols GOOG and GOOGL.
Facebook announced it was rebranding as Meta in October 2021, and its ticker symbol changed from FB to META in June 2022.
Cramer has proposed excluding Netflix from the group because it has not kept up with the others in terms of growth. Netflix’s market cap is just under $110 billion. That’s less than one-third of the market cap of Meta, the next smallest FAANG stock, and less than one-tenth of the market cap of the other three FAANG stocks (all have trillion-dollar market caps).
What are FAAMG stocks and MAMAA stocks?
Today, Microsoft is a common substitution for Netflix in big tech stock groupings because it has a trillion-dollar market cap like Apple, Alphabet and Amazon.
After Facebook’s rebrand to Meta in 2021, Cramer proposed replacing FAANG with MAMAA — an acronym for Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet.
However, FAAMG — an unpronounceable variant of FAANG that swaps “N” for Netflix with “M” for Microsoft — is more widely used than MAMAA.
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List of FAANG stocks (plus Microsoft)
Below is a table of the six stocks that make up the FANG, FAANG and FAAMG/MAMAA groups — Meta, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Netflix and Microsoft.
Performance (1 Year)
Meta Platforms, Inc.
Source: Finviz. Stock data is current as of market close on August 31, 2023, and is intended for informational purposes only.
Should you buy big tech stocks?
The big tech stocks have had a rough year, no matter which acronym you use for them.
Christine Centeno, a certified financial planner and the founder of Simplicity Wealth Management in Richmond, Virginia, says now could be a buying opportunity for the FAANG/FAAMG stocks — if you’ve built up savings and a diversified portfolio.
“Are you hitting all your savings goals? Do you have sufficient cash reserves? What’s your job safety situation like? If all of those are good, I’d say [big tech stocks] are on sale,” she says.
For less-established investors, Centeno is “a big believer in broad-based investment.” She says total stock market index funds or S&P 500 index funds are good places to start.
“The more money you have, the more ability you have to make bets on individual companies,” Centeno says.
How to invest in FAANG stocks
Investing in big tech stocks isn’t always easy because the shares aren’t cheap. The lowest-priced member of the FAANG/FAAMG group, Alphabet, was trading at nearly $100 per share at the time of writing.
No exchange-traded funds (ETFs) consist purely of the FAANG or FAAMG stocks, but many technology-focused ETFs include the FAANG/FAAMG stocks among their top holdings. Nasdaq-100 index funds and technology-sector ETFs are good places to look.
Regardless of whether you buy one of those ETFs or the FAANG or FAAMG stocks themselves, the first step is to open a brokerage account so you can easily buy and sell tech stocks online.
The author owned shares of Alphabet at the time of publication.