Tallahassee Journal

Facebook, China and dividend payers boost global tech

Facebook, China and dividend payers boost global tech

Yet Facebook’s significant move up wasn’t the biggest stock-market hit among the world’s 20 most valuable tech firms. Year-end stock market data point to the two most valuable winning stories of 2014 for tech investors. The first was the relative strength of dividend-paying stocks such as Apple, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems and Microsoft.1411157827000-AP-Alibaba-IPO

The second was a marked shift in value away from U.S. Internet firms (other than Facebook) and toward their Chinese rivals. The surge in market capitalization among those big names helped drive the aggregate value of the world’s 20 most valuable tech companies higher by $870 billion. The 20 most valuable global tech stocks, by market cap, are now worth $3.6 trillion.

As measured by their change in U.S. market capitalization, Alibaba and Apple enriched their shareholders the most in 2014. Tech investors who held Apple (AAPL) the last 12 months reaped a massive $253 billion aggregate gain in value. The hardware maker’s stock rose 40%, even though sales growth slowed, as CEO Tim Cook and the Apple board boosted dividend payments.

Almost as large last year was the value that investors added to the market cap of Alibaba (BABA), thanks to the online retailer’s September IPO. The China-based giant led by CEO Jack Ma staged the largest stock offering in history. Alibaba ended 2014 as the world’s fourth most valuable tech firm, with a market cap of $251 billion. That put it behind only Apple, Microsoft and Google, as we surmised might happen just before the IPO.