Trader Talk

Thank You, Steve Jobs

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

Eight years ago, fed up with the WinTel hardware/software monopoly and the endless bugs and viruses, I bought my first Apple computer: a PowerMac G5—with an 80 GB hard drive! I then bought a PowerBook G4 laptop, then retired the PowerMac and bought a Mac Pro, then bought the iPhone, then the iPad. Like all Apple fans, I loved the cool design and interface, but most of all I loved Apple because the products work: The hardware and software is integrated.

Most analysts are viewing the overnight drop in the stock (to $351) as a buying opportunity, and with good reason. Apple is often described as a "platform" with a near-fanatic app developer community. That momentum is unlikely to diminish.


1. S&P futures jumped 10 points as Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway announced he will be investing $5 billion in Bank of America, 50,000 shares of preferred shares with a liquidation value of $100,000 per share, with a 6 percent dividend. He will also receive warrants to buy 700 million shares with an exercise price of $7.14. The warrants can be exercised at any time in the next 10 year period. BofA shares trading at $8.16, up 17 percent, pre-open.

2. Despite stronger-than-expected results, a slew of companies took down their guidance overnight:

Applied Materials topped third-quarter estimates by 2 cents a share as sales rose 11 percent. However, a poor outlook pushes shares 5 percent lower. The chip-equipment maker warned that sales in the current quarter are likely to fall 15 percent to 30 percent from last quarter, hurt by "the uncertain economic environment and overcapacity in solar." As a result, earnings are seen between 16 cents a share and 24 cents a share, well short of 30 cents a share consensus.

Big Lots beats estimates 52 cents a share vs. 44 cents a share consensus) even as the discounter’s same-store sales fell 1.5 percent, and margins narrowed. The retailer raises the low end of its full year guidance to $2.80 a share to $2.90 a share, but that range remains mostly below Street estimates of $2.89 a share consensus.

Guess second-quarter earnings beat estimates (84 cents a share vs. 81 cents a share consensus) thanks to strong growth overseas in Europe and Asia, but shares fall 5 percent after it provided disappointing guidance. The apparel maker/retailer sees third-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share to 74 cents a share, far below 84 cents a share consensus amid weaker-than-expected sales.

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