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This is a big week for anyone seeking to gauge the health of high-tech America. On Tuesday we had Apple report its quarterly results. Microsoft and Facebook report later today, and Amazon tomorrow. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reports next week.

It is obviously a huge financial story, for a lot of people are making – and losing – millions of dollars on their investments. These are the most valuable companies in the world, with Microsoft now top of the league, closely followed by Amazon. Apple, which last autumn pipped them all to become the first trillion dollar company, has now slipped back and is now worth “only” $742bn (£568bn).

It is also an economic story, for if growth slows in high-tech America that is both a signal of a wider slowdown and one of the causes of it.

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