Apple’s New Robots, Barclays’s Compliance Head Ducks Out, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Apple is investing $10.5 billion into new technology like assembly robots and milling machines to help maintain the torrid pace of mass production of its iPhones and iPads. Included are machines to polish the new iPhone 5C’s colorful plastic, laser and milling machines to carve the MacBook’s aluminum body, and testing gear for the iPhone and iPad camera lenses, sources told Bloomberg. “Apple has so much cash that they can invest in cutting-edge, world-class machinery that is typically used for aerospace and defense,” Muthuraman Ramasamy, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said to the news service.

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Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS): Barclays’s compliance chief, Hector Sants, who last month took a leave of absence citing stress and exhaustion, has formally resigned from the company. In one fell swoop, Barclays also announced the departure of its chief operations and technology officer, Shaygan Kheradpir; the developments are surely a dent in Barclays’s comeback efforts, but to what extent is still uncertain.

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Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA): Shell is preparing to sell about $15 billion worth of assets as the oil company speeds up its divestments in order to offset the costs of projects from Australia to Canada. CEO Peter Voser said that the sales will enable Shell’s net capital investment, spending on projects adjusted for acquisitions and disposals, to fall from this year’s record $45 billion.

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Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX): Starbucks has made the necessary adjustments to its fourth-quarter GAAP results following the conclusion of its arbitration with Kraft Foods Global (NASDAQ:KRFT), which resulted in a $2.75 billion award payment for prematurely terminating its grocery store distribution deal. Starbucks notes that after the revision, its fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 operating loss was $2.115 billion.

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Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): Blackstone property Extended Stay America (NYSE:STAY) has hauled in $565 million in an initial public offering after pricing the 28.25 million share offering at $20 each. The hotel chain will use the proceeds to pay down debt, according to a regulatory filing.

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Don’t Miss: Munster: ‘Growing Positivity’ for Apple’s Products.