Trouble struck Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shareholders today and German residents as well. Apple’s iconic leader and Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs announced last evening that he can no longer actively lead the contender for largest company in the world, based on market capitalization. Apple had just surpassed Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) to take its spot atop the hill, before being quickly dethroned by XOM’s return. Apple shares are lower by about 1% at this hour of the late-afternoon. In Germany, rumors sent German shares sharply lower, but as those rumors were quelled, the DAX closed only 1.7% down on the day. Jobless claims edged higher this morning and so the Dow is down about 1.2% at the hour of publishing here.
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.
Financial Markets Summary
Technological visionary and legendary leader of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs announced last evening he would step down from his CEO role, and allow Tim Cook, his temporary fill-in this year, to take the controls on a more permanent basis. Jobs remains as Chairman of the Board, and so perhaps very little really changes. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is the best managed critical leadership transition I’ve ever seen. For Apple to only shed a point on the news of Jobs’ departure would have been unfathomable if it happened in a less structured manner. Kudos to the Apple team for once again excelling.
Rumors abound around Germany a day after a business sentiment measure came in lower than expected. The rumor was that rating agencies were considering a downgrade and that Germany might impose a short-selling ban on the DAX. Things stabilized once the three rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s (NYSE: MHP), Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) and Fitch all reaffirmed Germany’s stellar rating. However, short-selling bans were extended today in Spain, Italy and France.
Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose 5K in the period ending August 20, moving to 417K from a revised prior week period tally of 412K (from 408K). Economists were looking for a measure of 405K this week, based on Bloomberg’s survey. We started warning last week that this figure could be starting to trend higher, and we said it again in our weekly copy.
Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index for the week ending August 21 improved to a still lousy negative 47, from minus 48.3. Bloomberg was sure to note that the figure remained near record lows.
The Kansas City Fed reported its regional manufacturing survey data Thursday, and I quote, “According to Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the survey revealed that Tenth District manufacturing activity continued to expand modestly, and producers remained generally positive about future months. “Factory activity in our region continues to be buoyed by strong growth among agriculture and energy-related manufacturers,” said Wilkerson. “New orders accelerated at these firms in August even as some other firms experienced softness. But hiring and capital spending plans remain fairly solid across broader categories of producers.”
The EIA reported on Natural Gas Inventory today for the week ending August 19. Natural gas stocks improved by 73 Bcf, to a mark that still left gas stores 140 Bcf short of last year’s mark and 55 Bcf below the five-year average for this time of year. Natural Gas Futures dropped just a penny as we were scribbling here. WTI Crude Oil Futures were lower by a half-point Thursday to about $84.75 per barrel, while Brent Crude edged up fractionally to about $110.50 per barrel. The reason for the divergence is the continued unrest in Libya matched against the economic decline seen in the U.S. and Europe. Gasoline RBOB Futures were higher by 2.9% at last check here, perhaps on Gaddafi’s “never surrender” pledge.
Gold halted its slide in the afternoon today, with futures contracts showing higher slightly to $1762.20 per troy ounce. Silver was stronger by 4.3%, with futures rising to $40.875 per troy ounce. The Dollar Index was up fractionally to $74.27 at latest check.
Warren Buffet bought into Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) big time, announcing an investment of $5 billion. Mr. Buffet’s bet adds to his portfolio of financial behemoths, with holdings of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), American Express (NYSE: AXP), US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BNY) and M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB). This latest buy looks more like Buffet’s capital injections into Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and General Electric (NYSE: GE), and it begs to question how close to the danger zone BofA was, and who may have asked Mr. Buffet to lend a hand. In other news, Baxter International (NYSE: BAX) announced it would acquire privately held Baxa for $380 million, a boost to its nutrition and drug delivery efforts.
Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.
Inquiries about Wall Street Greek content and advertising services can be emailed to Advertise @WallStreetGreek.com.