Investment — 02 May 2012

Falling iPhone Sales at AT&T, Verizon Put Apple Earnings Into QuestionMINYANVILLE EXCLUSIVE: Today, Apple (AAPL) will report on earnings after the closing bell. Though the debut of the newest iPad is all but certain to prop up Apple’s revenue, analysts foresee a slight decline from the record income in the previous quarter. AT&T’s (T) earnings, which came out earlier today, have some clues that support this. AT&T reported 4.3 million iPhone activations, just over half of the 7.6 million activated in the last three months of 2011. Verizon (VZ) also reported a decline in iPhone activations last week. Wall Street is getting bearish on Apple’s earnings and the stock is down by 1.75% ahead of the announcement. 

Google (GOOG) is launching a Dropbox-killing cloud storage service called Google Drive, according to an unnamed source that Reuters spoke to. Customers reportedly get a free five gigabytes of storage — far more than the dominant Dropbox offers for free. Drive also pits Google against Microsoft’s (MSFT) SkyDrive cloud storage, which offers seven free gigs (“upgraded” from 25 GB with applications for Mac and iOS users added just today). The service has been rumored on tech blogs for some time now and Google is expected to formally announce it as early as today.

Facebook (soon to be FB) amended its S-1 yesterday. One bit of good news is that Facebook can fire Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg “at will.”  Zuckerberg has 58% of voting shares, but this move should mollify would-be Facebook investors concerned about Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual omnipotence in the company. On the surprise acquisition of Instagram, Zuckerberg commented, “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”

The amended filing also shows that the social network now has a mind-bending 901 million members. Revenue declined in the first three months of this year, and profits and operating income fell as the company boosted investment in R&D and marketing. Other costs, like buying 550 AOL patents from Microsoft, and $300 million in cash plus 23 million shares to acquire Instagram, also weighed on the bottom line.

Netflix (NFLX) plummeted over 12% today. In its earnings statement yesterday afternoon, the company predicted weaker-than-expected growth of 200,000 – 800,000 new US subscribers in the second quarter. This outlook puts the company’s goal of adding seven million users this year into question. In the first quarter, Netflix beat expectations with an $0.08 per share loss, and revenue rose 28%. Netflix is going all in into content production now. The new season of the almost cultishly beloved Arrested Development will stream exclusively on Netflix.

Nokia (NOK) shares dropped this morning, but later rebounded after Fitch ratings cut the handset maker to BB+, or junk status, today. This comes a week after Moody’s downgraded Nokia to just a step above junk. Nokia lost nearly one billion euros last quarter as it overhauls the company, recalibrates from the obsolete Symbian system to the Windows Phone, and lays off thousands of workers. Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia’s financial chief, responded by saying that the company is working on bringing costs down. Ihamuotila said last week that Nokia might divest some of its non-core assets and sell some of its patent portfolio to boost profits.

ARM Holdings (ARMH), the UK-based company that designs the low-power chips that smartphones and tablets use, reported that revenues grew by 13% in the last quarter and profits rose 22%. ARM, unlike competitors Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm (QCOM), doesn’t make its own chips, but licenses manufacturers like Samsung (SSNLF) to build its designs.

Source: Minyanville



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