Dow: 13,579 (-0.13%) S&P 500: 1,460 (-0.01%)
Leaves aren’t turning yet, but it’s almost Homecoming season in colleges across this great land. And while such occasions call for questionable hazing rituals and awkwardly multi-generational football tailgates, consider Apple to be your Homecoming Queen. The tech giant stole investors’ attention today as the iPhone 5 debuted in stores nationwide and helped raise telecommunication stocks on a quiet market day. Although there were no US econ data reports, investors were also encouraged by rumors that the European Commission and Spain are working together to prepare for a potential Spanish government bailout (the economic equivalent of a high school fire drill). Although the Dow was slightly up going around the last turn at 3:30 this afternoon, it tripped for unknown reasons right at the end of the day with a dive of 17 points, falling on its face right before the closing 4PM bell. The late losses tipped the Dow into the negative for both the day and the week.
Apple rises on iPhone 5 release
We are trying to decide what is more amusing – the outrage from Apple (AAPL) enthusiasts on the apparent incompetence of the iPhone’s new map app (Apple dissed Google with this iPhone edition by abandoning Google Maps as the default map app), or the lines in cities across the world to grab iPhones on their first day of sale. Despite the map app’s failures of not having public transportation layers and brain farts during turn-by-turn navigation, Apple expects to sell 10 million iPhones this opening weekend. Apple gained today and lifted telecommunication stocks like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ).
Dow Jones Transportation Index drops 5.9% in the week
Savvy investors keep an eye on transportation companies as a measure of the greater economy. FedEx’s warning earlier in the week of lower earnings for the rest of 2012 was ominous and dragged down similar companies like UPS and other airline and trucking companies. In a chicken & egg debate, investors watched the Dow Jones index of transportation stocks fall 5.9% this week and fear that the greater economy must be suffering as well, since a strong economy relies so much on transportation. While the S&P 500 is up ~15% this year, the transportation index is down 2.2%. Some analysts are pointing at this phenomenon as the reason for the sharp fall in stocks at the end of the day today as investors realized how important trains, planes, and automobiles are.
RIMM falls, McDonald’s boosts dividend and Olive Garden owner impresses
While Apple basked in the glory of its big fancy day, Research in Motion (RIMM) was busy adding salt to its own wounds. The slowly failing BlackBerry-maker lost over 5% after customers suffered “service problems” pretty much everywhere east of the Prime Meridian. McDonald’s (MCD) rose nearly 1% after raising its dividend to shareholders, which investors wanted to get a piece of MCDonalds makes a Big Mac sized amount of cash across the globe and decided to send a bigger portion of it to shareholders with the increased dividend. Our big focus though was on Darden Restaurants (DRI), the famed owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, whose better-than-expected quarterly earnings helped the stock rise 4% and confirmed that never-ending breadsticks is a more reliable business model than whatever Research in Motion invents.
- Major Week of US GDP data and Consumer Confidence Reports
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