Apple Recap: An Earnings Scare, Tax Trouble, Samsung’s Surge

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the top decliner in the S&P 500 on Friday after falling 2.78 percent to close at $527. The stock gained 1.48 percent this week after a torrid couple of months at the end of last year, but is clearly yet to stabilize. The doubters have persisted even as the company prepares to announce holiday-quarter earnings on January 23. That key date will provide a take-off point for how the stock behaves in the coming months. Meanwhile, here’s a cheat sheet to what affected its behavior on Friday:

Coming Up: Caution

Deutsche Bank’s Japan team issued a few cautious comments about Apple’s performance on Friday, saying end-of-the-year sales had not been as strong as expected and that production of components and materials for its mobile products was exposed to adjustment risk. “Although we view Japanese device and component makers as having performed in line with guidance in 4Q 2012, we see a strong likelihood of major shortfalls from guidance, except for iPad mini, in 1Q 2013, and are concerned about adverse effects on capacity utilization, sales, and profits,” the bank said… (Read more)

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Can the Tax Mess Be Fixed?

Apple is defending its tax practices in anticipation of the release of a Congressional report into its corporate finance structure. According to The New York Times, the iPhone maker was the central focus of the yearlong U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations inquiry into at least six of the country’s leading tech firms. Apple is known to use its international subsidiaries to keep most of its profits overseas, escaping the high corporate taxes of the U.S. While not illegal, the practice does test ethical boundaries… (Read more)

Samsung is Strongest

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) will reportedly increase its global smartphone lead over Apple this year unless the latter makes an aggressive move, such as launching a cheaper “iPhone mini” to target users of lower-end smartphones. That assertion was made by market researcher Strategy Analytics, which said the Korean company was likely to extend its lead because of its larger multitier product portfolio. And Apple will eventually be “forced to discover fresh growth streams”… (Read more)

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