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AAPL Up Strong With Market
Stocks are rallying in early trading lifted by easing worries about Japan’s nuclear crisis and corporate deal making (see below), even as oil prices rise to $104 per barrel as Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi vows a “long war.” Shares of AAPL are up strong versus tech as the T-Mobile acquisition potentially opens the company to ~30 million more potential iPhone users. Upcoming catalysts for the stock include news regarding Steve Jobs‘ healthy return; iPad 2 sales updates and international launch next week; monthly NPD data to gauge Mac / iPod businesses; iPhone sales updates on new carrier Verizon, the push in China, as well as the launch of the iPhone 5 anticipated this summer; new revenue streams such as video, books / publishing and social (Ping); moving iTunes into the cloud; and the continued evolution and adoption of Apple TV. Shares of Apple trade at 13x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow (incl. long-term marketable securities).Verizon iPhone Sales Not Stellar, Could Mean No Upside To iPhone Numbers (Cult Of Mac)
Verizon iPhone sales have been “solid, but not spectacular” during the March second quarter, according to BMO Capital Market’s analyst Keith Bachman. He projects 16 million iPhone units for the March quarter, assuming a normal 10% seasonal decline from the December quarter, and an extra 1.5 to 2 million units from Verizon. That’s probably in line with Street expectations, but it may mean there’s no “material upside” to consensus this quarter. For the iPhone that is.
AT&T Buying T-Mobile USA Making It The Biggest U.S. Carrier (The New York Times)
AT&T announced that it agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, creating the largest cellular carrier in the country. The move isn’t necessarily good for U.S. consumers who now have exactly one GSM carrier choice, meaning the deal will certainly face antitrust scrutiny. Good news for Apple, however. The company gets another ~34 million potential iPhone customers without having to make a special version of the phone for T-Mobile’s weird 3G frequency. Read about the winners and losers from the deal at Business Insider.
Foxconn rumoured To Build Factory In Brazil (Electronista)
rumour has it Foxconn may build a factory for Apple products in Brazil. JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna recently suggested that Foxconn’s production capacity in China could be responsible for holding Apple back. South American based Bom Dia is reporting that Foxconn has commissioned a number of studies to determine whether or not moving a third line to their production plants is feasible at this point. Given the state of the world right now, perhaps the diversification is a smart move.
iPhone 5 Might Have NFC Capability After All (Various via iDygest)
On the heels of a recent report downplaying rumours that the next iPhone will include wireless near-field communication (NFC) technology, sources are now saying the company is working on a “top-secret” NFC product believed to be built-in to the next iPhone. Arch-rival Google is about to test NFC for Android. Skipping NFC on iPhone 5 would leave Google with a huge window to offer something great that exists only on Android. Read about how NFC is more than just about mobile payments.
Steve Jobs Was Number One Google CEO Pick (Wired)
Back in 2000, when Google was just getting started, the company’s leading venture capitalist, John Doerr, arranged for Google’s young co-founders to meet with half-a-dozen Silicon Valley CEOs to run the company. All were rejected, however. Why? Because Larry Page and Sergey Brin had only one person in mind for the position: Steve Jobs. Of course, in 2000, Jobs wasn’t available. He’d triumphantly returned to Apple back in 1998, and in 2000, he was busy preparing the release of the iPod.