Shares of Sprint stock fell 4.5% Monday morning after an analyst said there is an increasing risk that the nation’s third largest wireless carrier could file for bankruptcy. The company is facing increased competition, growing debt and steep costs, with flops in Clearwire’s WiMAX technology, a failed LightSquared partnership and a risky $15.5 billion gamble on Apple’s iPhone further complicating its position. Read on for more. More →
Shares of HTC’s stock closed down 3.9% at T$871 on Monday, just three days after the the U.S. International Trade Commission announced that the Taiwanese company was guilty of infringing on two of Apple’s patents. The patents were related to a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data,” and a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data,” but the judge’s ruling is still awaiting the review of a 6-member Commission. “We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” HTC’s general council Grace Lei said on Friday “We strongly believe we have alternate solutions in place for the issues raised by Apple. We look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers.” HTC also has an ongoing patent lawsuit against Apple. The Financial Times attributed the sell-off to “investor fears that the legal battle could have wider implications for the competitive balance between Apple and Google Android-based phonemakers like HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.” More →
Shares of RIM stock have taken a beating since the company announced devastating first-quarter earnings last Thursday. The Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker missed Wall Street’s first-quarter consensus, it lowered its full-year guidance, it announced workforce reductions, it confirmed product delays and investors went running for the door as did a top executive. Since the earnings release last week, RIM’s stock has fallen more than 25%. This is bad news for every RIM investor, but two in particular must be especially upset. RIM Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie collectively own more than 10% of the company, a stake that helped each man achieve billionaire status. Last year, Lazaridis was ranked the world’s 651st richest man by Forbes with a net worth of $1.9 billion, and Balsillie was No. 692 on the list with a net worth of $1.8 billion. Fast forward to today, and neither man can call himself a billionaire any longer. The cheifs’ stake in the company is still worth more than $1 billion combined, but separately, their net worths are now just roughly $800 million a piece. We doubt the employees set to be laid off in the coming weeks and months will shed any tears for the Co-CEOs’ loss, but it’s just another piece of a puzzle that continues to fall apart. Some analysts believe RIM is hardly out for the count, however, and we agree that the company has a bit of fight left in it. If Balsillie and Lazaridis hope to rejoin the billionaire club, it’s time to put those gloves on and start swinging. More →
Following RIM’s first-quarter earnings release on Thursday, the company’s sixth-biggest investor confirmed that it is giving up on the Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker. “They are resting on their laurels,” said Stephen Jarislowsky, chairman of Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., on Friday in an interview with Bloomberg. “Steve Jobs is a much better marketer than RIM,” Jarislowsky added. ”We are on the way out. The stake has been reduced by more than 50% or even more.” As of the end of the first quarter, Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd. owned 10.2 million shares of RIM stock. Earlier on Friday, RBC Capital Markets said RIM still has some fight left in it. Sadly for RIM in this instance, it looks like not everyone agrees. More →
Social networking giant Facebook may be looking to conquer another market, Wall Street. After news spread of a $500 million investment — $450 million from Goldman Sachs and $50 million from Russia’s Sky Technologies — Facebook was given a valuation of $50 billion by market analysts and firms. The eleven figure price tag was placed upon the privately held company even as the government’s Securities and Exchange Commission has, purportedly, launched a formal inquiry into Facebook’s private-share trading activity. According to the Times, the SEC is investigating the “increasingly hot private market for shares in Internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter, the gaming site Zynga and LinkedIn.” The government agency is looking for loopholes in the public disclosure laws that companies, investors, and firms may be exploiting through the use of private shares. A $50 billion valuation of Facebook makes the company’s youthful CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $15 billion — more than double the estimated $6.9 billion net-worth put on Facebook’s founder back in September. More →
Apple’s stock is up around 7 points at the time this post was published, and you know what that means… the company’s market cap is now above $300 billion. The actual number is more like $302 billion, but who’s counting a measly two billion at this point, right? Shares of Apple are trading at around $330 which is a new record high for the company. Analyst expectations are that Apple has set new sales records for the holiday quarter, and that’s most definitely baked into the stock price. Apple will report their fiscal first quarter results on January 18th. More →
Microsoft has issued a statement describing Steve Ballmer’s plans to sell up to 75 million shares in order “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning”. A sale this large is bound to ring alarm bells with shareholders, however Ballmer has cleared the air of any brewing conspiracy theories. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” said the Redmond CEO. SEC filings indicate that Steve Ballmer has already sold 49 million shares, making him a cool $1.3 billion. With capital gains tax said to increase to 20 from 15% in January, Steve Ballmer has just saved himself some serious money.
Market cap isn’t everything when determining the value of a company, but considering that just over 10 years ago Apple was free falling into irrelevance, the news today that Apple’s outstanding shares are for the first time ever worth more than Microsoft’s is nothing short of amazing. At the time of writing this, Apple’s market cap was $224.01 billion while Microsoft’s was $217.52 billion. The only company in the world with a market cap larger than Apple is Exxon Mobil at $279.21 billion. For those who aren’t entirely aware of what market cap is, it’s measured by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by their value. But as with stock prices themselves, prices tend to be influenced more by people’s perception of the company’s performance than its actual worth. So basically what we’re saying is to think of this as symbolic. It seems people have more confidence in Apple’s ability to innovate and lead than they do in Microsoft. More →
Today’s earnings call with Apple has blown the minds of analysts as the Cupertino based company showed another strong quarter. Predictions for revenue was around $9.4 billion, but Apple topped it with $9.87 billion in revenue and a quarterly profit of $1.67 billion. Earnings per share is $1.82 where the consensus was at about $1.42 and whispers of $1.65. Strong sales pushed these substantial increases in profit: 3.05 million Macs (17% increase from last year), 10.2 million iPods (eight percent decrease) and 7.4 million iPhones (seven percent increase). Elated by the September quarter results, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer says, “For the full year, we grew revenue by 12 percent and net income by 18 percent in extraordinarily challenging times. Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue in the range of about $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $1.70 to $1.78.”
Is anyone really surprised? Amidst a recovering economy, Apple has been pulling impressive numbers and showing some solid growth.