Apple Juiced?; Jobs Hangover; Liking Facebook
Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Apple's Big Show Short on Juice
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference kicked off with product announcements Monday, with the tech giant unveiling a new operating system, upgrades to its laptops and a new radio service.
As expected, some nice, incremental software upgrades. But anyone expecting a "wild card" surprise announcement of a new gadget or the opening up of the Apple TV platform to app developers was disappointed. Investors who are near-term bearish on the company weren't hard to find as a result of the lack of "wild card" momentum. But there are Apple bulls who say that some of the upgrades should help propel shares to the $500 to $600 range. The keynote from Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't serve as a boost to shares, either.
"We're still sort of in this really long drought of not having new, cool hardware from Apple, but I'm not sure if today they're going to solve that problem. "
—Dan Ackerman of CNET
"I think the stock only works when new products hit the market that people start saying, 'Wow, I guess they can innovate.' "
— Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital
"Can't innovate anymore, my ass!"—Phil Schiller, senior vice president, worldwide product marketing, Apple
The Post-Jobs Report Lull?
After last week's sturm and drang over jobs and tapering, this week could bring a sideways trend rather than a big, taper-inspired correction. Longer-term, it could be a volatile second half, with the bullish trend still in place, but less reason to be positive in the short term. For big bears, there's the argument being made that every major asset class in the world is overpriced.
"I don't really expect […] for there to be a huge correction, but I do think we're just going to mark some time and trend sideways and I think it's a good opportunity for those that aren't sufficiently in this stock market to take periods of weakness over the next several months to add to positions."
— James Paulsen, chief investment strategist, Wells Capital Management
"We're in a secular trending-upward market and that's something we really haven't seen for some time."
— Goldman Sachs' Peter Oppenheimer
"If you believe the second half of the year's going to be better nothing you learned in this quarter will derail that dream."
—Adam Parker, chief U.S. equity strategist, Morgan Stanley
Facebook a 'Must-Buy?'
Facebook is "cheap", especially compared with Google, and Stifel Nicolaus thinks that should be to the liking of investors. Sure, some are put off because they think its ad strategy doesn't work, its demographic is heading off and the platform is losing engagement. But in Facebook's favor, it could be added to the S&P 500 later this year or early in 2014. And it should benefit from the back-to-school season, the monetization of Instagram, new products and ad formats.
"I think it's been overly punished and the recent underperform of the stock compared to all the internet large caps is just a little too much."
—Jordan Rohan, Stifel Nicolaus & Co.
S&P Says U.S. 'Stable'
Standard & Poor's has upgraded U.S. debt to "stable" from "negative," saying that the chance of a downgrade is now less than one in three. S&P was the first ratings agency to downgrade U.S. sovereign debt when it dropped it to 'AA' from top-rated 'AAA' in August 2011. With tax receipts up and longer-term budget issues improving, the U.S. is a better bet.
"Please downgrade us again because yields have done nothing but go down since the S&P downgrade, which had to do more with political deadlock in the United States more than anything else."
—CNBC's Steve Liesman
More PRISM Fallout
Details of the government's internet monitoring program, which involved nine of America's biggest tech companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook, continue to come to light. Calls came in for more oversight of the program and for the prosecution of the Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who gave classified documents about the program to the press. Booz Allen shares were the big loser in the market, down close to 3 percent on Monday on heavy trading.
Meanwhile, the press is taking a closer look at private contractors and the spy business. According to Booz Allen's SEC filings, the company considers CACI International, L-3 Communications, ManTech International, SRA International and TASC direct competitors. Booz also includes defense contractors like General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon on that list, as well as Accenture, Computer Sciences, Deloitte Consulting and SAIC.
"The intelligence committees' members [on Capitol Hill] knew about this. Perhaps, some of the leadership, but most members of Congress, were not aware of how broad this thing was. I do think this probably suggests that we need to have additional oversight."
—South Dakota Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
By Doug Cubberley