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Silicon Valley on Capitol Hill — What you need to know in markets on Wednesday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

On Wednesday, Silicon Valley goes to Washington, D.C.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (TWTR) and Square (SQ), and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook (FB), will both be on Capitol Hill Wednesday to face questions from lawmakers over the content and safety of their platforms.

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days on Capitol Hill discussing Facebook’s role in allowing foreign actors to present misinformation to users during the 2016 election. Dorsey and Sandberg will likely face similar questions about the ability of their platforms to ferret out propaganda and other coordinated campaigns.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will face questions from lawmakers about the safety of Facebook’s platform on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Expect both executives to be asked about recent claims from President Donald Trump — among others — that social media platforms and search engines are biased against conservative voices.

The CEO of Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL), Larry Page, had been invited by Senators to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the company instead offered to send its chief legal officer Kent Walker in his stead. Walker will not appear before lawmakers alongside Dorsey and Sandberg.

On Yahoo Finance’s live show The Final Round on Tuesday, Alphabet chairman John Hennessy defended the company’s decision by saying Walker, “sits in every single board meeting, operates at the highest level of the company, and is responsible for its global brand, and image, and legal advice.”

Sandberg’s appearance on Capitol Hill comes the day after analysts at MoffettNathanson downgraded shares of Facebook, citing decelerating growth and continuing regulatory scrutiny. On Tuesday, Facebook shares dropped 2.6%.

Another company that has at times been on the receiving end of attacks from Trump is Amazon (AMZN). And not only is that company not being summoned to Washington, D.C. to explain its business, but investors pushed the stock to a new milestone on Tuesday, briefly pushing Amazon’s market cap above $1 trillion for the first time.

Amazon shares ultimately finished the trading day up 1.3% at $2,039.51 per share, about $11 off the $2,050.27 price that gives the company a market capitalization of $1 trillion. Bloomberg reporter Ye Xie noted Tuesday that the three largest companies in the S&P 500 — Apple (AAPL), Amazon, and Microsoft (MSFT) — now account for more than 10% of the index’s market value, a proportion not seen since the tech bubble. About two years ago the three largest companies in the market were worth roughly 7% of the benchmark index.

As Xie noted, “While the statistic doesn’t tell you if the companies are overvalued, it does show the power and influence of super-sized companies, mostly in the tech space. It’s hard to turn structurally bearish on the U.S. stock market without having a bearish view on tech.”

And while tech’s market leadership remains broadly in place, on Tuesday investors were loudly reminded that September is the worst month for the stock market, with the S&P 500 losing an average of 1.05% in September since 1928. Perhaps seasonality, then, is a reason for investors to be cautious.

In years that look a lot like 2018, however, September tends to be just fine.

Through the end of August, the S&P 500 had gained about 8% this year and during the summer months of May through August the market rose 9%. When stocks are up year-to-date and during the summer, September tends to be positive and the rest of the year has, on average, resulted in the market gaining an additional 3%, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

While September has indeed been the worst month of the year for stocks, the negativity usually comes during years when the market is already struggling entering the month,” analysts at Bespoke Investment Group said Tuesday.

“That’s simply not the set-up in place this year.”

When stocks are up during the summer and year-to-date through August, markets tend to be higher both in September and the rest of the year. (Source: Bespoke Investment Group)

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland