1. Apple (AAPL)
Apple continued to keep itself at the forefront of investors’ minds this week, announcing the introduction of an iPad with a whopping 128 gigabytes of memory. The beefed up model will go on sale next week with a price tag of $799. The company has already sold more than 120 million iPads.
Mutual funds, like many retail investors, have reduced the size of their holdings in the tech giant. Some fund managers were savvy enough to get out on the early side.
“Of the 321 funds that had more than 5 percent of their assets in Apple shares at the beginning of 2012, 53 of them - or slightly more than 16 percent - significantly cut back their weighting of the company before the plunge gained momentum, according to data from Morningstar,” Reuters reported.
Of course, there are plenty who are sticking by Apple. Brian White of Topeka Securities, told The Daily Ticker that while he’s tempered his bullish attitude, he believes Apple will decide to give more of its massive $135 billion cash pile back to shareholders, in the form of increased dividends and share buybacks. White thinks Apple will release a slew of new products over the next year: A new iPad, new iPhones, and, eventually, an Apple TV.
Shares managed to regain some ground this week, rising just over 3% for the week. Still, shares remain down around 17% for the year as of Friday’s close and down nearly 40% from a September peak of $705.07.
2. Facebook (FB)
Earnings for Facebook’s fourth quarter, released on Wednesday, showed its run up in share price has been warranted -- at least somewhat. The company saw revenue for the quarter jump 40%, and crucial mobile advertising revenue doubled. Despite this, mobile advertising revenue came in below expectations and shares started to slide.
“Investors want to see evidence that CEO Mark Zuckerberg's 8-year-old company is delivering on promises to develop a full-fledged mobile advertising business, a challenge facing many of today's technology leaders including Google,” Reuters noted.
Henry Blodget summed up Facebook’s problems on The Daily Ticker:
Yesterday, after reporting good Q4 results, Facebook announced that expenses will grow much faster than revenue in 2013.
Facebook's profit margin will drop.
As a result, Facebook's earnings will grow at an even less-compelling rate this year than analysts were previously expecting them to grow.
The sentiment was echoed by our own Jeff Macke on Breakout.
"There's nothing to get that excited about. It's not a howling sell or buy. I think the volatility is more of a concern," Macke said.
Shares opened below $30 on Thursday and finished out the week down 7%. Shares are up more than 10% for the year to date.
3. Research in Motion (RIMM)
Weeks of buzz and anticipation built up to the unveiling of the BlackBerry10 on Wednesday. It was almost universally accepted that the company’s future presentation would be a make or break moment.
"If this thing gets ignored or is seen as a nothing phone, what do you have... a few Playbooks? This thing has to work," Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital, told Breakout.
Turns out, the company unveiled a new phone and a new corporate name, dropping Research in Motion in favor of Blackberry.
While the new phone has met with favorable reviews, many are wondering if it’s too late to make up so much lost ground.
“Five years and roughly 80% too late, Research in Motion has officially attempted to reemerge in the overcrowded smartphone business,” Macke noted. “At the same, the once dominant mobile device maker from Waterloo, Ontario has also decided to rebrand, adopting the ubiquitous name of its primary product, Blackberry, and will be listed under the ticker symbol "BBRY."
"Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end," quipped Dave Garrity, principal with GVA Research in the attached video. For him, the list of businesses which "successfully shrunk themselves to prosperity" is short, and thus, he has serious misgivings about Blackberry's future.
Only time will tell how many of Blackberry's 80 million existing users will migrate to the new BB10 platform and how many will defect, but it is safe to say expectations are very low. Wall Street analysts see the company posting losses for the next three years.
Shares had surged leading up to the event, tapping a 52-week high of $18.32 on January 24. But prices started slipping as the week began and dropped even more following the event. While shares are up more than 10% for the year as of Friday’s close, they had fallen 26% for the week to close at $13.02.
4. Amazon (AMZN)
Amazon frustrated the bears, again, after reporting a 22% rise in sales to $21.3 billion for the fourth quarter on Wednesday. While that was shy of analysts’ projections, it wasn’t enough to keep the stock down for long.
"To their considerable chagrin, the bears got their earnings miss but the stock didn't do what it 'should,'" said Macke. "After a brief drop, Amazon shares quickly roared to all-time highs after hours, a reversal of more than 10% in less than 10 minutes."
Blodget agreed, noting that Amazon "has become so synonymous with 'online shopping' that many consumers now just start their searches at Amazon.com."
Shares closed out the week down 6.4% at $265 and were up more than 3% for the year to date as of Friday’s close. The stock jumped 45% in 2012.
5. Ford (F)
Ford managed to top earnings estimates on Tuesday, but the company’s outlook on its European operations was cause for concern. The nation’s second-largest car maker lost more than $1.75 billion in Europe last year and expects those losses to grow this year.
Ford CFO: Expect Strength to Continue In N. AmericaCNBC's Phil LeBeau reports Ford CFO Bob Bob Shanks says the company is seeing incredible strength in North America, and also expects 2013 to be the year Europe's losses bottom out.
Still, the company’s North American business looks strong and there are signs that new avenues of growth are opening. According to Bloomberg, Ford expects sales of hybrid vehicles to surge, with sales topping 6,000 cars in January compared with just 1,209 a year ago.
Shares have been on a downward slide since Tuesday’s open, losing 4% for the week. Shares are down nearly 2% year to date
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