We Now Interrupt Coverage of iPhone 5 To Bring You...September 24, 2012 @ 9:24 AM EST
I tweeted about iPhone5 mania a few times this past week and then wondered who needed more to “get a life”, those willing to wait on line for hours, or me?
But the Apple iPhone5 story was one which kept on giving, with any number of interesting sidebar anecdotes and quotes.
First, we thought some random blog post we saw was mildly clever, with the author stating, “Good thing those going to Apple stores today still have their iPhone4’s and Google maps so they can find one.”
Then there was Steve Wozniak, Apple original co-founder, who reportedly waited in line all night in Chermside, Queensland Australia, tweeting, “I’m in line for one of the first iPhone5’s in the world (given the time difference. I wanted to be among the first in the world to get my iPhone 5's. I beat my California friends by 17 hours.” He had previously told TechCrunch at the time of the iPhone4 launch that, “I’ve gotten so used to waiting in line, overnight, it has meaning. The product is so good and this is my way of recognizing it.”
Of course this all begs the question of why Mr. Wozniak could not request an IPhone directly from Tim Cook, but as they seem to say, “that’s the Woz”, who Yahoo reports ended up buying both a white and black iPhone 5s 64GB. But we guess he can afford it.
The iPhone launch and now actual in-store sales was certainly one of the dominant stories of the past two weeks, with tweets and media stories likely setting new records for any single consumer product launch and Google showing 9.4 billion hits as of today for searches on “iPhone5”.
Samsung tried to get into the act, tweaking Apple by extending its ad campaign for the Galaxy themed “The Next Big Thing Is Already Here” and headlines like “It Doesn’t Take A Genius”.
The comic strip “Mallard Fillmore” on Saturday featured “Mallard” watching the news on TV, with the anchor saying, “We now interrupt our up-to-the-minute coverage of the new iPhone launch for a brief word about that Presidential campaign thingee.”
In any event, all the hype carried AAPL stock to yet another all-time high, with the stock hitting $705.07 intraday on Friday. Other news this week was relatively subdued, with the markets reflecting the news flow with a tight range all week and minor declines for each index, with the Dow and NASDAQ both recording -0.1% declines and the SPX off -0.4%.
But there were a few other items and quotes which got our attention.
Europe did not deliver any blockbuster news for a change, but the ongoing sagas of the ECB follow-through, Spain and Greece generated some buzz.
“Central bank action is work of the devil, says Germany's Jens Weidmann” --The Telegraph ran this headline referring to Bundesbank head Weidmann’s comments that “efforts by central banks to pump money into the economy reminded him of the scene in Faust, when the devil Mephistopheles, ‘disguised as a fool’, convinces an emperor to issue large amounts of paper money.”
“Spain will not rush to seek external aid to finance its debt.” --Reuters reporting on comments by Economy Minister Luis de Guindos this weekend, adding yet another twist to the “will they or won’t they” story on Spain requesting a bail-out.
“Greece faces a budget shortfall of about 20 billion euros ($26 billion) to satisfy international conditions for emergency aid, almost double previous estimates.” --MarketWatch citing an article by Der Speigel, and others were reporting on the continuing contentious nature of the “Troika Talks”, the lack of a deal on austerity measures and the uncertainty about the next tranche of Greek aid as of this weekend.
But the word “Austerity” seemed to be the furthest thing from the ECB’s vocabulary, as the NY Times reported on the new ECB headquarters being built in Frankfurt, Germany “at a cost of 1.2 billion Euros, 350 million over original budget”.
And in the U.S., the Presidential race took center stage, with Romney’s “47% quote” raising a storm for both parties, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…” (CBS News)
But Romney’s tax return release also created a buzz, with the slightly incredible situation of the former Mass. governor being criticized in Democratic surrogate sound bites as both “Romney paid too little in taxes!” and “Romney paid too much in taxes!” (don’t even bother asking why…)
But Romney’s week had some Republican politicians running for cover, the liberal press gleefully citing the incompetence of the campaign (and therefore his leadership), and even Republican stalwart Peggy Noonan saying in a WSJ editorial column, “It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues.”
Larry Kudlow took issue with Ms. Noonan’s comments on his Saturday radio program and also added regarding Romney’s taxes, “It is now a fact that Senator Harry Reid told a bald-faced lie on the Senate floor.” Kudlow was referring to Reid’s unsubstantiated claims that Romney had not paid taxes for years. According to Business Insider, Reid is not giving up the ghost, and in his latest comments said, “It’s galling to see the creative accounting Mr. Romney has applied to his tax returns...It’s obvious he believes in two sets of rules; one for him and one for the middle class.”
Ok, a couple quick random hits here to finish up:
Earnings seasons begins in a couple of weeks but gloomier than expected forward guidances have raised some warning signals. FedEx dropped its overall outlook for fiscal 2013, which was one of the few major market news items of the week, aside from Apple.
“Profit warnings from companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index are outpacing positive earnings pre-announcements by the widest margin in 11 years. 89 have confessed that they will fall short and only 21 said they would top forecasts,” said Thomson Reuters.
“Should Apple Investors Be Rooting For Romney This November?” --Forbes’ Steve Schaefer managed to tie together both the Apple and Romney stories, specifically as it relates to a possible uptick in the capital gains tax rate if Pres. Obama wins reelection.
With the Tour Championship over and now all eyes moving to the Ryder Cup which starts this week at Medinah Country Club, will we see further talk of Rory McIlroy “intimidating” Tiger Woods, as Greg Norman claimed? That certainly was not in evidence in Atlanta, as Tiger finished T8 and Rory T10. One of several top players in contention for a U.S. Ryder Cup spot but not getting it, Ryan Moore had a nice showing and tied for 3rd, but when asked if he were going to watch