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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News For ACTG;AAPL From The Last 14 Days
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February 1, 2016
09:36 EDTAAPLActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: BAC AAPL FB AMZN TWTR MGM MCD NFLX GILD INTC TSLA AA BABA C
07:24 EDTAAPLEU's Vestager dismisses U.S. criticism of tax cases, Reuters says
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06:53 EDTAAPLApple's iPad Air 3 may come with SMart Connector support, 9to5Mac reports
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January 31, 2016
19:04 EDTAAPLApple acquires Flyby, assembles 'secret' virtual reality team, FT says
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14:12 EDTAAPLApple should avoid 'dubious' M&A, focus on cloud, AI development, Barron's says
"Impatient" investors encouraging Apple (AAPL) to become a mere dividend payer or make "dubious" acquisitions are not making much sense, Barron's contends in its 'Technology Trader' column. Apple continues to innovate and its iPhone franchise "will endure," though the one area where Apple lags behind peers and "can and should" make progress is cloud computing, according to the publication. Alphabet (GOOG), Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) are making large strides in cloud and artificial intelligence, but the company still has "plenty of opportunity" to catch up given its product install base, Barron's says. Reference Link
11:39 EDTAAPLS&P falls 5% in January despite second straight winning week to close month
Stocks finished the month of January with two straight winning weeks, but investors are still glad to see the calendar flip as those winners only cut the S&P's loss to 5% for the month. With growth worries abounding amid troubling signs from China and as oil languishes below $35 per barrel, the manufacturing readings from China, Europe, and the U.S. due out on Monday will be essential to whether the new month continues the uptrend of the end of January or the dour tone that dominated the early half of the month. MACRO NEWS: The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged following its policy meeting this week, as almost universally expected. In its accompanying statement, the central bank said its committee members expect that economic conditions will "evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate." The group added that inflation is expected to "remain low in the near term, in part because of the further declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2% over the medium term as the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further"... In other domestic economic news, the Commerce Department's first read on fourth quarter gross domestic product came in at 0.7% annualized growth, below the already anemic 0.8% growth forecast. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.8% from the prior year in November, topping expectations for a 5.7% year-over-year increase. The separate FHFA house price index showed a monthly gain of 0.5% in November, matching the consensus forecast. Markit's services PMI for January came in at 53.7, missing the 54.0 forecast. The preliminary reading of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for January came in at 98.1, topping the 96.5 reading that was expected. New home sales surged 10.8% to a 544,000 annualized pace in December, topping expectations and hitting their highest level in 10 months. Initial jobless claims fell to 278,000 last week, versus the expected 281,000 first-time claims. Durable goods orders dropped 5.1% in December, versus expectations for a decrease of 0.7%. The core reading, which removes transportation items, was down 1.2%, versus expectations for a decline of 0.1%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slipped to 92.0 in the final January print, missing the 93.0 reading that was forecast... In a surprising move in Asia, the Bank of Japan introduced a rate of minus 0.1% on certain excess holdings of cash while maintaining the pace of its asset purchases. Japan also reported data pointing to a softening economy, as total CPI grew 0.2% year-over-year in December, core CPI rose at only a 0.1% pace and industrial production fell a preliminary 1.4% month-over-month in December. COMPANY NEWS: McDonald's (MCD) advanced Monday after the fast food giant reported better than expected earnings and comparable sales growth for the fourth quarter, powered by the launch of All Day Breakfast in the U.S.... Earnings season accelerated Tuesday as four members of the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average posted results before the opening bell. 3M (MMM) was the top advanced on the index with a gain of over 5%, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Procter & Gamble (PG) and DuPont (DD) all notched gains that day following their reports as well... Apple (AAPL) declined more than 6.5% on Wednesday after the tech giant reported first quarter earnings that topped consensus estimates, but also issued revenue guidance for the new quarter that missed expectations. The company was noted by several analysts as taking a particularly downbeat tone in its earnings conference call, invoking the difficult macroeconomic environment and weakness it has recently seen in China. Apple was not the worst performer in the Dow that day, as Boeing (BA) shares plummeted nearly 9% after its profit outlook for the new fiscal year fell far short of the Street's consensus forecast... Facebook (FB) surged 15.5% on Thursday after the social media giant's fourth quarter earnings and revenue beat expectations. A number of Wall Street analysts increased their price targets for the stock following the report, including Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who hiked his target to a "Street-high" $170 per share. The same day, Caterpillar (CAT) reported better than expected quarterly earnings, excluding certain items, but its revenue came in below the consensus forecast and the heavy equipment maker warned that it does not anticipate an improvement in the world economy or commodity prices in 2016. The stock, which had declined almost 20% in the last three months prior to this morning's report, rebounded almost 5% after the company jumped over the lowered bar that had been set by bearish analysts... On Friday, shares of Amazon (AMZN) declined more than 7.5% after the company's fourth quarter results came in below expectations. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT), which reported better than expected earnings, gained almost 6%. Chevron (CVX) reported a quarterly loss due to taking impairments and other charges of $1.1B. The company, which also reported that its average sales price per barrel of crude oil and natural gas liquids in the U.S. was $35 in fourth quarter, down from $66 a year ago, edged up 0.7% to $86.44... Among the many others reporting earnings this week, Visa (V), Mastercard (MA), Under Armour (UA), Sprint (S) and Biogen (BIIB) gained immediately following their reports, while Qualcomm (QCOM), eBay (EBAY), U.S. Steel (X), VMware (VMW) and Anthem (ANTM) all slid following their own... Xerox (XRX) announced plans to separate into two independent publicly-traded companies: one focused on Document Technology and another Business Process Outsourcing company. Xerox also announced an agreement related to the governance of the Business Process Outsourcing company under which six directors of the new company will be selected by Xerox and three will be selected by current Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn... Terex (TEX) surged more than 36% higher on Tuesday after receiving a $30 per share acquisition offer from China's Zoomlion. Terex peers Manitowoc (MTW), Joy Global (JOY) and Oshkosh (OSK) also gained after the offer was disclosed... Weight Watchers (WTW) shares soared nearly 20% Tuesday after noted shareholder and partner Oprah Winfrey tweeted a video detailing her progress using the company's program, indicating that she'd already lost 26 pounds thanks to its plan... AIG (AIG) provided its much-anticipated strategy update, committing to return at least $25B to shareholders over the next two years and announcing the sale of AIG Advisor Group to Lightyear Capital and PSP Investments. The company, under ongoing pressure from activist investors including Carl Icahn, also said it will publicly offer a portion of its United Guaranty unit, though it expressly rejected a full company breakup... SunEdison (SUNE) gained 18% during the week after agreeing to new corporate governance initiatives with David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, including amending its bylaws to restrict equity issuances for two years without a supermajority board vote... Twitter (TWTR) slumped nearly 6% this week after CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed the departure of four company executives, leading research firm Stifel to downgrade the shares. INDEXES: The Dow gained about 2.2% to close at 16,466.30; the S&P 500 rose about 1.6% to close at 1,940.24; the Nasdaq advanced about 0.4% to close at 4,613.95.
January 29, 2016
16:00 EDTAAPLOptions Update; January 29, 2016
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10:36 EDTAAPLActive puts @ CBOE: IWM VMW NEM SPY XRT AAPL
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10:27 EDTAAPLActive calls: IWM F DXJ ABT FXI AAPL EEM COP
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10:15 EDTAAPLApple may look into developing original shows for i Tunes, The Street reports
Apple is talking to TV producers and Hollywood studios about investing and developing original TV shows, reports The Street. According to two people with knowledge of the overtures, Apple has begun sounding out studios although it has yet to sign any agreements. One deal would have Apple announcing exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September. Reference Link
09:34 EDTAAPLActive equity options trading on open: AMZN MSFT FB AAPL GILD GE
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08:28 EDTAAPLEnergous rises after Apple said to be at work on wireless charging
A Bloomberg report that said Apple (AAPL) is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia to develop new wireless charging technology did not mention Energous (WATT), which is a development-stage company exploring technology that can enable wire-free charging for electronic devices. In pre-market trading, Energous shares rose 10% to $5.25.
06:28 EDTAAPLApple working on wireless-charged phone, Bloomberg says
Apple is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia to create new wireless charging technology that could work on mobile devices possibly as soon as next year, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the plans. Apple is eyeing new technologies that would allow iPhones and ipads to be powered from further away than charging mats, the report says. Reference Link
January 28, 2016
18:19 EDTAAPLBank of America, Wells Fargo to integrate Apple Pay in ATMs, TechCrunch says
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16:00 EDTAAPLOptions Update; January 28, 2016
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures down 84c to 25.21 Option volume leaders: FB AAPL MSFT AMZN NFLX BAC BABA QCOM AAL MU C RIG
15:05 EDTAAPLEarnings Watch: Analysts more bullish on Microsoft since last quarter's blowout
Microsoft (MSFT) is scheduled to report results of its second quarter of fiscal year 2016 after the market close on Thursday, January 28, with a conference call scheduled for 5:30 pm ET. Microsoft, a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sells and licenses software to consumers and businesses, offers cloud computing and other business services, and markets computer, phone and gaming hardware. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 71c on revenue of $25.26B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 66c-75c on revenue of $24.62B-$25.92B. On its last earnings conference call, Microsoft said it expected Q2 productivity revenue of $6.6B-$6.67B, Q2 revenue for intelligent cloud of $6.2B-$6.3B and Q2 personal computing revenue of $12B-$12.4B. LAST QUARTER: On October 22, Microsoft reported first quarter earnings per share of 67c, beating the consensus analyst forecast of 59c. The company's revenue came in at $21.7B, topping the consensus estimate of $21.03B. NEWS: On December 17, Microsoft announced a new joint venture that will license, deploy, manage and optimize Windows 10 for China's government agencies and certain state owned enterprises and provide ongoing support and services for these customers. That announcement followed Microsoft inking a partnership with Baidu (BIDU) to make it easy for their customers to upgrade to Windows 10 while providing local browsing and search experiences, and universal apps. On January 4, Microsoft said in a blog post that operating system Windows 10 was currently active on over 200M devices, bringing the company closer to its goal of seeing Windows 10 active on more than 1B devices. STREET RESEARCH: On the day after the company's last earnings report, BofA Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan upgraded Microsoft to Buy from Neutral, saying he believes the company was at a turning point with its operating income headed for growth following four years of flattish performance. At the time, Rangan increased his price target on the stock to $63 from $46. On November 20, Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note to investors that actions taken by Google parent Alphabet (GOOG) and comments made by its executives indicated that the tech giant plans to make a major push in the cloud infrastructure market. Based on a comment from executive Urs Holzle that the company's revenue from the cloud could surpass its ad revenue by 2020, Sandler estimated that the company is seeking to boost its cloud revenue to $100B by 2020. Google's push in the cloud is negative for Microsoft, but it will take years for Google to build up its cloud business to the point where it's competitive with Microsoft's cloud offering, Azure, the analyst contended. On November 30, Raymond James analyst Michael Turits upgraded Microsoft two notches to Strong Buy from Hold, predicting that the tech giant will become one of the few large scale cloud vendors that can succeed across the industry's three main segments. Microsoft will emerge alongside Amazon (AMZN) and Google as part of a small group of "hyperscale" cloud vendors that can combine Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service, predicted Turits. Forecasting that Microsoft's cloud revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6% between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2018, the analyst estimated that the company's overall profit growth would accelerate to at least 8% over the long-term. Moreover, the growth of Microsoft's Office business appears to be accelerating, despite competition from Google, said Turits, who set a $62 price target on the shares. On January 13, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss upgraded Microsoft to Overweight, the firm's equivalent of a "Buy" rating, from Equal Weight. Microsoft is emerging as a public cloud winner, is gaining share in the data center market and Office 365 is seeing its base grow and its per user pricing increase, all of which set up the company to resume earnings growth after a five year period of stagnation, Weiss told investors. The analyst, who believes Microsoft's earnings growth and "aggressive" return of capital to shareholders should help its multiple expand, raised his price target on the stock to $66 from $57. This morning, UBS analyst Brent Thill said that given Apple's (AAPL) recent negative commentary around macro uncertainty he was lowering his second half of the year estimates for Microsoft on the potential for more conservative guidance when it issues its Q2 report after the closing bell. Thill trimmed his price target on Microsoft to $58 from $60, but said he remains confident the company is making the right moves to the cloud and kept a Buy rating on shares. PRICE ACTION: On the day after the company's last quarterly report, Microsoft shares jumped 10.4% to $53.03. In late afternoon trading ahead of Thursday's report, Microsoft advanced 1.25% to $51.86.
14:17 EDTAAPLApple acquires education technology startup LearnSprout, Bloomberg says
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13:53 EDTAAPLApple acquires education technology startup LearnSprout, Bloomberg reports
13:07 EDTAAPLFacebook says expanding ability to share live video in U.S. via iPhone
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10:34 EDTAAPLApple supplier Cirrus jumps after results beat expectations
The shares of Cirrus Logic (CRUS) are surging after the company reported stronger than expected third quarter results last night. Research firm Oppenheimer responded to the news by upgrading the stock to Outperform from Market Perform. Cirrus, which develops integrated circuits, is said to get about 75% of its revenue from Apple (AAPL). WHAT'S NEW: Cirrus reported Q3 EPS of 82c, versus analysts' consensus outlook of 81c. The company's revenue also came in slightly above expectations. However, it provided Q4 revenue guidance of $225M at the midpoint of their range of $210M-$240M, versus the consensus outlook of about $260M. However, Cirrus said that it continues to expect its revenue to increase more than 15% in its upcoming fiscal year. "Short-term weakness for certain audio products" caused Cirrus' Q3 results and Q4 outlook to be weaker than the company originally expected, the company stated. iPhones, whose sales came in below analysts' consensus forecast last quarter, utilize audio products from Cirrus. Cirrus CEO Jason Rhode said he remains upbeat about the company's prospects, stating, "We are confident that our strategy of focusing on innovative market leading customers in the fastest growing audio and voice segments will fuel future growth." Rhode added that Cirrus expects to sell more products to its existing customers going forward. ANALYST REACTION: Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer upgraded Cirrus to Outperform from Market Perform in a note to investors today. Apple will utilize a smart codec from Cirrus to reduce noise in the earbuds of the upcoming iPhone 7 device, Schafer predicted. As a result, Cirrus will obtain an average of about $5.50 for each iPhone 7 sold, up from about $3.50 for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+, the analyst estimated. Meanwhile, Cirrus is selling more of its smart codecs and audio amps to Android smartphone makers, accrding to Schafer. He raised its 2017 EPS estimate for the company to $3.30 from $2.74, and he thinks the company's results could beat expectations through the second half of this year. Schafer set a $40 price target on the shares. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Cirrus climbed 15.5% to $32.29.
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