Technology Stocks Shrug Off Biden Executive Order On Competition, Mergers

Telecom and large-cap technology stocks on Friday shrugged off President Joe Biden’s executive order partially aimed at promoting competition among Big Tech and internet service providers. Apple stock, AT&T (T), Facebook (FB) and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) were up in midday trading while Amazon (AMZN) slipped only slightly.


Along with encouraging federal agencies to promote competition, Biden’s order aims to re-impose regulation on high-speed internet services. The White House released a “fact sheet” on Friday morning as a precursor to Biden signing the executive order later in the day.

The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission were among a dozen agencies targeted by the executive order. The Biden administration wants the FCC to reverse the repeal of net neutrality rules, which bar internet providers from blocking or throttling content as well as paid prioritization. A Republican-controlled FCC under the Trump administration took away utility-like regulation of broadband services.

The Biden Administration also wants the FTC to establish new rules on data collection by big tech companies. Biden on June 15 named Lina Khan as chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. Khan has been a critic of Amazon and big tech companies generally.

The cable TV industry’s trade association criticized Biden administration’s executive order.

Technology Stocks: Internet Regulation Re-Imposed

The executive order encourages federal agencies to take a harder stance versus corporate consolidation and business practices that may stifle competition. Aside from the technology stocks, the White House targeted the agriculture, healthcare, shipping and transportation industries.

“In over 75% of U.S. industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more of the business than they did twenty years ago,” said the White House fact sheet. “That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers. As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups have tripled.  Families are paying higher prices for necessities — things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and internet service.”

“We are disappointed that the executive order rehashes misleading claims about the broadband marketplace, including the tired and disproven assertion that internet service providers would block or throttle consumers from accessing the internet content of their choice,” the Internet & Television Association said in a written release.

Apple Stock Climbs, Along With Others

Apple (AAPL) stock rose 1.5% to near 145. Amazon stock slipped a fraction to near 3,728. Facebook stock gained 1% to 349.25. Google stock rose 0.2% to 2,507.

AT&T stock advanced 0.9% to 28.44. Other technology stocks in that space making a gain included Comcast (CMCSA), which edged up a fraction to 58.28 on the stock market today. Comcast is the biggest provider of broadband services. Shares in Verizon Communications (VZ) rose 0.6% to near 56.

The Nasdaq Composite, which includes many technology stocks, rose 0.8% to 14,680 in midday trading.

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Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter @reinhardtk_tech for updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

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