One of the biggest shifts seen in the stock market over the past 20 years is the increasing supremacy of technology stocks. Roughly two decades ago, General Electric and ExxonMobil were the pinnacle of market caps, valued at $319 billion and $283 billion, respectively.
Now, the current market leaders help illustrate the ongoing secular shift. Technology leaders Apple and Microsoft are the top dogs, with market caps of $2.76 trillion and $2.47 trillion, respectively, at this writing. Additional evidence abounds, as six of the 10 largest market caps belong to industry-leading technology companies.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been the primary catalysts driving the stock market higher so far this year and will likely fuel the next cohort of “trillionaires.” Here are my predictions for two AI growth stocks that will be swept up by this secular tailwind and join this exclusive society over the next 10 years — and maybe much sooner.
Amazon (AMZN -2.99%) currently has a market cap of $1.46 trillion, and many believe it’s just a matter of time before the e-commerce giant joins the $2 trillion club. To reach that benchmark, the stock would need to increase by roughly 37% from Tuesday’s closing price. That works out to about 4% gains annually over the coming decade, a bar it should clear with ease.
It’s worth noting that the company nearly achieved this in July 2021, with a market cap of roughly $1.9 trillion, before economic headwinds took a toll. Amazon then earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first company in U.S. history to lose more than $1 trillion in market cap over the next 18 months.
Yet there are numerous catalysts that could fuel its growth. Weakening consumer spending in the midst of a historic downturn slowed its online retail growth to a crawl. There are signs the economy has finally turned the corner, which could, in turn, boost the company’s e-commerce sales. Cooling inflation will likely spark additional consumer spending.
Last year, Amazon represented roughly 38% of e-commerce sales in the U.S., more than its next 14 competitors combined. As the leading provider of online retail, it is well positioned to profit from the recovery.
Then there’s the matter of cloud computing. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the worldwide leader in cloud infrastructure services, controlling about 30% of the market, according to data compiled by market analyst firm Canalys.
Many businesses reined in cloud spending in response to the recent economic unpleasantness, but if the worst is over (and many believe it is), spending will resume, profiting Amazon along the way.
The emergence of generative AI earlier this year, which promises vast gains in productivity, has sparked a mad dash to adopt this next-generation technology. But the cost to create these systems and the large language models that power them is prohibitive to all but the most well-funded companies.
Cloud providers, including AWS, were quick to recognize the opportunity and are scrambling to make generative AI available on their platforms. There will no doubt be a commensurate uptick in cloud spending to access these AI algorithms, boosting Amazon’s fortunes.
While estimates vary, even conservative forecasts suggest there are trillions of dollars at stake. Analysts at Morgan Stanley suggest generative AI represents a $6 trillion opportunity, while Goldman Sachs pegs the market at almost $7 trillion. Whatever the case, accelerating adoption of AI will no doubt result in a commensurate uptick in cloud spending, which will be a boon to Amazon.
The rebound in digital retail along with the recovery of cloud spending (with a boost from AI) should give Amazon all the traction it needs to join the $2 trillion club, once and for all.
2. Meta Platforms
Meta Platforms (META -3.66%) currently has a market cap of $776 billion, and while some believe the stock will inevitably join the $2 trillion club, not everyone is in agreement.
The stock would need to increase by roughly 258% from Tuesday’s closing price to reach that mark, which amounts to approximately 10% gains annually over the next 10 years. Given the stock price increase of 570% over the past decade, that’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
One of the biggest hurdles is Meta’s recent price spike, with the stock gaining more than 150% so far this year (as of this writing). Driving those gains are Meta’s ambitious AI plans.
The company is working to develop an advanced generative AI system to rival that of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Meta is using Nvidia‘s H-100 AI processors, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal is for the system to be open source. Making the model free to all users would encourage collaboration, which could, in turn, supercharge development in the space.
Meta Platforms has a long history of employing AI technology to leverage the capabilities of its social media platforms. Its uses include targeted advertising, identifying subjects in photos, and surfacing the most-relevant content for users, among other functions.
Even without the AI connection, it’s likely Meta Platforms would make its way into the $2 trillion club, based on the dominance of its social media platforms. More than 3 billion people visit one of Meta’s quintet of apps each day: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Threads. This consistent audience fuels the company’s digital advertising business, which generated revenue of roughly $114 billion last year, despite the worst downturn in more than a decade.
Meta’s expanding social media empire and the rebound in digital ad revenue should provide plenty of resources to help the company achieve its AI ambitions, giving it the fuel it needs to join the $2 trillion club.
Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Danny Vena has positions in Amazon.com, Apple, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and Nvidia. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Goldman Sachs Group, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and Nvidia. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.