Tag Archives: Apple

Retail Reports: U.S. Stocks Drop for Third Day Amid Auto

According to Bloomberg,

U.S. stocks declined for a third day, as investors assessed reports on car and retail sales before economic data this week that may offer clues on when the Federal Reserve will reduce stimulus.

Ford Motor Co. lost 2.9 percent, as carmaker stocks slipped amid November sales reports. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) slid 2 percent to pace declines among retailers even as online Cyber Monday sales surged to a record. Krispy Kreme (KKD) Doughnuts Inc. plunged 20 percent after quarterly revenue missed analysts’ estimates. Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose 2.7 percent to the highest in a year after buying data-analytics firm Topsy Labs Inc.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.3 percent to 1,795.15 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 94.15 points, or 0.6 percent, to 15,914.62, its first close below 16,000 since Nov. 20. About 6.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 3.8 percent above the three-month average.

“It’s really a mixed picture right now,” Dan Veru, the chief investment officer who helps oversee $4.5 billion at Palisade Capital Management LLC, said in a phone interview from Fort Lee, New Jersey. “In the absence of any bigger data, investors are grasping for these little bits of micro data in trying to develop a conclusion. Any market that’s appreciated as much as the stock market has this year is going to be vulnerable to sell-offs.”

Economic Data

U.S. stocks fell yesterday as data showing manufacturing unexpectedly rose last month bolstered the case for the Fed to start curbing stimulus. Central-bank policy makers meet Dec. 17-18 after minutes of their last meeting in October showed officials may reduce the $85 billion in monthly bond buys should the economy improve as anticipated.

The Commerce Department will release data tomorrow on new home sales and the central bank will publish its Beige Book, which provides policy makers anecdotal accounts of business activity from the Fed districts. Reports on third-quarter gross domestic product and November non-farm payrolls are also due this week.

“There’s trepidation building with the employment numbers coming on Friday,” Quincy Krosby, a market strategist for Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc., which oversees more than $1 trillion, said by phone. “There’s nervousness that maybe the Fed takes a more hawkish tone at its December meeting if the jobs numbers are stronger than consensus estimates.”

Valuations Rise

The S&P 500 has added 26 percent this year, challenging 2003 for the best annual gain in 15 years, after the Fed refrained from trimming its monthly bond purchases and corporate earnings have surpassed estimates.

The rally has pushed valuations higher, with the gauge trading for about 16.9 times its companies’ reported earnings, up 19 percent from the beginning of the year when it traded at 14.2 times profit.

“For the coming months, markets will be hesitating, and we expect volatility amid expectations of Fed tapering,” Guillaume Duchesne, an equity strategist at BGL BNP Paribas SA in Luxembourg, said by telephone. “The rebound in equity markets has been quite impressive, particularly in the U.S., so we expect some pause.”

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Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Coding

According to Bloomberg,

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding (Bloomberg)

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding (Bloomberg)

Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. are fighting back against the National Security Agency by using harder-to-crack code to shield their networks and online customer data from unauthorized U.S. spying.

The companies, burned by disclosures they’ve cooperated with U.S. surveillance programs, are protecting user e-mail and social-media posts with strengthened encryption that the U.S. government says won’t be easily broken until 2030.

While the NSA may find ways around the barriers, the companies say they have to assure users their online connections are secure and data can’t be grabbed when transmitted over fiber-optic networks or digitally stored.

Microsoft Corp. is convinced it must “invest in protecting customers’ information from a wide range of threats, which if the allegations are true, include governments,” Matt Thomlinson, general manager of trustworthy computing, said in an e-mail. He didn’t provide details.

Internet companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple Inc. are trying to distance themselves from news reports that they gave the agency data on electronic communications of Americans and foreigners or have lax security.

While the companies are trying to prevent the NSA from gaining unauthorized access to their data, they say they comply with legal court orders compelling them to provide the government information.

The NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad in order to siphon off data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into coding, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Samsung: Plan Galaxy Phone Using Wraparound Display

According to Bloomberg,

A Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy advertisement (Bloomberg)

A Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy advertisement (Bloomberg)

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) plans to release a Galaxy smartphone next year with a display that wraps around the edges so users can read messages or monitor stocks while looking from an angle, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The phone will use an upgraded version of Samsung’s technology called Youm, currently featured in the curved Galaxy Round handset, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans haven’t been released. The three-sided display may be used in the S or Note series of premium handsets or may be the first in a new line, the people said. Samsung plans to have each side of the display operate independently.

The world’s largest maker of handsets is fighting with Apple Inc. (AAPL) to introduce innovative devices as they brace for a slowdown in the high-end smartphone segment, where Samsung sells about one of every three devices. Apple is developing new iPhone designs including bigger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors that can detect different levels of pressure, a person familiar with the plans said Nov. 10.

“Samsung is the dominant player,” Lee Do Hoon, an analyst at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd in Seoul, said by phone today. “That gives it a competitive advantage over Apple in the race to make phones with bendable displays.”

Smartphone Saturation

Samsung doesn’t have a specific release date for the new device, the people said, with one person saying the handset is more likely to come out during the second half of next year. The Youm technology was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Chenny Kim, a spokeswoman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment.

The company is diversifying its product portfolio by expanding its use of flexible displays, unveiling the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and registering a design patent for eyeglasses that can answer phone calls while the user exercises.

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Microsoft CEO Candidate Elop: to Mull Windows Shift?

According to Bloomberg,

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (Bloomberg)

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (Bloomberg)

Stephen Elop, a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, would consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc. and Google Inc., said three people with knowledge of his thinking.

Elop would probably move away from Microsoft’s strategy of using these programs to drive demand for its flagship Windows operating system on personal computers and mobile devices, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the 49-year-old executive hasn’t finalized or publicly discussed his analysis of the business. Most of Microsoft’s software has been tied to running on Windows.

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Microsoft To Buy Nokia’s Device Business in Deal Worth $7.17 Billion

Microsoft To Buy Nokia’s Device Business in Deal Worth $7.17 Billion

Nokia devices (http://www.gsmarena.com)

All Things D’s Ina Fried reports that Microsoft announced late Monday that it is buying the majority of Nokia’s cell phone unit for 3.79 billion Euros ($5.0 billion) and spending another 1.65 billion Euros ($2.18 billion) to license Nokia’s patent portfolio for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.17 billion).

Once the deal is done, a number of Nokia executives will join Microsoft including Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive seen as among the top contenders to replace CEO Steve Ballmer. Also set to join Microsoft are Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen and Chris Weber.

For now, Elop is stepping aside as Nokia CEO to become executive VP of devices and services. Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa will serve as interim CEO.

“For Nokia, this is an important moment of reinvention and from a position of financial strength, we can build our next chapter,” said Siilasmaa “After a thorough assessment of how to maximize shareholder value, including consideration of a variety of alternatives, we believe this transaction is the best path forward for Nokia and its shareholders.”

The move is a clear sign that Microsoft believes it can and must succeed in the phone business and that it cannot afford to leave the success in the hands of a partner–even one like Nokia that had bet its future on Microsoft’s phone software.

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BlackRock Weighs Merits of Standardized Corporate Bond Issues

BlackRock Weighs Merits of Standardized Corporate Bond Issues

BlackRock Inc. BLK +2.28%, anticipating a logjam in the corporate bond market as interest rates rise, is proposing a solution to lower trading volumes: having borrowers issue more-uniform deals.

Standardization in the $5.5 trillion U.S. investment-grade corporate bond market “looks unavoidable in the long run,” the asset manager said in a paper released Monday by the BlackRock Investment Institute, referring to the growing divide between how new and older bonds trade.

Interest rates remain near historic lows, but many investors have begun to worry that they will creep higher if the economy shows sustained improvement and central bankers wind down their post-crisis stimulus measures.

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Apple’s Stock Drop Might Bite Hedge Funds Badly

hedge-fund-ETFAccording to Forbes’ Nathan Vardi, last year the billionaire hedge fund  manager David Einhorn predicted that Apple’s market capitalization could hit $1 trillion. He long ago made Apple one of his hedge fund’s biggest holdings and in a letter dated just two days ago Einhorn told his investors he had purchased more Apple shares as the price declined late last year. “We used the lower prices as an opportunity to repurchase the shares we sold in the third quarter,” Einhorn wrote.

Einhorn’s hedge fund was down 4.9% net of fees in the fourth quarter of 2012, thanks partly to the performance of Apple’s shares. “Our Apple was bruised,” he noted to his investors. The question now is, will Apple sink Einhorn and other hedge funds in 2013?

Einhorn’s hedge fund peformance, by his own account, was “pedestrian” last year. Like most hedge funds, Einhorn’s Greenlight was up in 2012, but it underperformed the U.S. stock market. In Einhorn’s case he was up 7.9% net of fees while the S&P 500 returned 16%. That’s actually a little better than the average hedge fund.

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