|Dow||-97.55 to 17,013.87|
|S&P 500||-13.10 to 1,988.44|
|Nasdaq||-40 to 4,552.29|
|10-YR Yield||+0.031 to 2.5%|
|Gold||+$3.40 to $1,257.60|
|Crude Oil||+$0.09 to $92.75|
Today, all eyes in the technology industry were focused on Cupertino, California. The reason? Apple (AAPL, Weiss Ratings: A) held its latest unveiling circus for the iPhone product line.
So what did we learn? That Apple is releasing an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus. They’re bigger, faster, and more energy efficient than the current generation of smartphones, with the iPhone 6 sporting a 4.7 inch display and the Plus featuring a 5.5 inch screen. The iPhone 5S screen is only 4 inches.
On the live blog of the event, Apple shared many other details. Posts noted that “these displays have the full sRGB wide color gamut” and that “Dual-domain pixels on the photo-aligned IPS display give you a wider angle of view.”
Frankly, I don’t have any idea what that stuff means. But at least some of the other updates were comprehensible to a simple guy like me. Namely, the iPhone 6 will be just 6.9 millimeters thick and the iPhone 6 Plus will be only 7.1 mm. That compares to 7.6 mm for the iPhone 5S.
|Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook walked onstage at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, and made the most important speech of his life.|
The screen glass is also rounded and lies flush against the aluminum backing, eliminating squared-off edges. Plus, the phone will have a better camera and a barometer. That means you can track not just how far you walk using fitness apps, but also how many vertical feet you climb or ride.
As for price, the iPhone 6 with 16 GB of memory will set you back $199 with a two-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 with the same amount of memory. Want 128 GB? Get ready to shell out as much as $499 (For the highest-end 6 Plus). They’ll hit the market on September 19.
Apple also announced a push into mobile payments — along with its partners, it wants to make it easier for you to pay for stuff by waving your phone at a receiver rather than swiping a credit card. And the company rolled out the “Apple Watch” — a wearable device analysts are hoping will catch on as a new product category. The watch will be available in several styles, starting at $349, in early 2015.
“I believe the bigger, longer-term issue for Apple is that there isn’t as much to separate its products from those of its competitors anymore!”
So how did investors react? Were they “wowed” the way they were when the original iPhone or any of its earlier updates hit the market? And what do I think about the new phone and Apple’s future?
Well, the stock initially surged, then gave up those gains, before finally ending the day off by a few dimes. It has had a good year overall though, trading for around $98 now versus around $80 at the start of 2014. And I certainly don’t have any interest in “shorting” the stock.
But I believe the bigger, longer-term issue for Apple is that there isn’t as much to separate its products from those of its competitors anymore! Heck, my wife recently switched over to the Samsung Galaxy S5 after being an Apple iPhone user for the past few years. And my 15-year-old stepson stopped being overly excited about iPhone releases a couple years ago.
Yes, I still use an iPhone, and my oldest daughter is hoping for a new iPod for her birthday. But that’s mostly because of inertia on my end. I have a lot of iTunes songs I don’t want to “lose” since I already paid for them, and I don’t want to go through the hassle of learning a new system.
So while I’m sure I will upgrade at some point, it probably won’t be until my current iPhone 5 dies out on me. There’s just nothing here that’s compelling enough to make me rush out and buy the 6 or 6 Plus.
What about you? Are you an Apple devotee? Or do you prefer a phone from Samsung, HTC, or one of the other vendors? Has the excitement of new smartphones worn off, or do you think some of Apple’s new innovations will get buyers energized again? Let me know at the Money and Markets website.
|OUR READERS SPEAK|
Should more of us invest in America? That was the question I posed yesterday, and you had a wide range of responses.
Reader Donald L. lambasted the current administration’s policies, strongly implying that investing here won’t be worth the effort. His comments:
“President Roosevelt’s economic policies extended what would have been a relatively simple market crash, historically lasting about 20 months, into a full-blown depression lasting 8 years. I suppose you could say that Obama’s policies are an improvement as they have affected only about half the economy though he is on track to meet or even exceed, the 8-year mark.”
Reader Bruce B. echoed that skepticism, adding his reasons for why many investors aren’t putting their money in U.S. stocks. His take: “It’s because the middle class no longer trusts Wall Street and the cozy relationship with Washington (ex. revolving door between Goldman Sachs and Treasury). Wall Street is still as corrupt as ever, only the profits are bigger. Insider trading is just one reason.
“With interest rates near zero, the middle class faces a terrible decision: Deal with Wall Street that caused the Great Crash or watch their plans for retirement go down the drain. The rich are getting much richer and the middle class hasn’t seen their inflation-adjusted purchasing power increase for more than a decade.”
On the other hand, Reader Peggy said she is seeing opportunity in specific sectors and precious metals. Her comments: “I have been and continue to be invested (almost fully) in stocks (mostly U.S. with significant % in energy and energy-related stocks and technology).
“But lately, I’ve been selling some of my U.S. stocks I think should be performing better and have increased my holdings in physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium. I’m also increasing my commodities holdings (natural gas, sugar, etc.). But I’m also buying Asian stocks. Why? They’re cheaper. And I’m also buying base metals and food and beverages.”
Lastly, Reader Charl said: “The low volume rally makes me optimistic about future stock prices! Real or not, the big funds have yet to join the rally. But as the bull continues they will have no choice.”
So there you have it — some investors are extremely skeptical, while others are relatively optimistic about future gains. I’ve laid out my roadmap for the markets many times here, in Safe Money Report, and elsewhere. I encourage you to add your thoughts whenever you have time at the Money and Markets website here.
|OTHER DEVELOPMENTS OF THE DAY|
Atlantic City’s decline claimed another victim today, with Trump Entertainment Resorts filing for bankruptcy. The company founded (but no longer controlled) by iconic real estate mogul Donald Trump runs two casinos there. Both are slated to close in the next several weeks amid a broader decline in the seaside resort’s fortunes.
Jitters over Scotland’s upcoming independence referendum continue to grow in Europe. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is putting on a full-court press to keep Scotland in the U.K., while the British pound continued its recent tumble. Even Spanish bond prices dropped in value amid fears that a similar secession movement in that country’s Catalan region will gain steam.
The shift toward healthier, organic, and foods perceived as better for us continues to impact Corporate America. The latest example: General Mills (GIS, Weiss Ratings: B+) announced plans to buy Annie’s (BNNY, Weiss Ratings: C) for $820 million to expand its organic product line.
The firm makes products such as mac and cheese in the shape of rabbits, which I fed my own kids when they were younger and which tastes pretty darn good. Unfortunately, the stock had been a lousy performer since its 2012 initial public offering thanks to operational challenges and a surge in wheat prices.
Reminder: You can let me know what you think by putting your comments here.
Until next time,
P.S. Don’t miss out on Martin’s new Q&A video that addresses your questions! It was posted just today! Click here to view now! You will also be able to catch up on the urgent video briefings that he posted last week.