Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) hit an all-time low of $7.72 yesterday. CNBC points out that part of the cause was the online coupon company’s exposure in Europe. The observation may be the first of many worries that Internet firms are not close to immune to Europe’s problems. Admittedly, Groupon’s trouble in the United States is also severe. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and several bricks-and-mortar retailers have started to offer online coupon specials that have eroded whatever moat Groupon had around its business. But many investors expect that earnings from companies in the social media industry, particularly Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) rely almost exclusive on business conditions in their home market. Ironically, each of these firms has made a push overseas to increase revenue. It just so happens that these pushes have run into the deeply damaged national economies in Europe.
Apple in China
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) made another push into a market where it has to be successful to keep up its hypergrowth — China. Its new product for the market is an updated version of the iPad. Apple described a machine that is similar to the iPad sold in other regions:
The new iPad features a stunning new Retina display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video. The new iPad still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life while remaining amazingly thin and light.
Apple’s sales of iPads and iPhones have by no means peaked in the balance of the world. But China has more than 500 million people online, and more with wireless devices. The People’s Republic eventually could become Apple’s single largest market for sales. Part of Apple’s drive in China is based on market size. But another reason Apple needs to conquer China is that the U.S. and European markets, where the company has traditionally done well, are in economic trouble.
JP Morgan Tops Poll
JPMorgan, under Americas equity research head Noelle Grainger, scored the largest number of highly ranked analysts, making it the No. 1 firm in U.S. equities research.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) ranked second and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) third. The award is one in a series of such rankings, the most visible of which is done by the Wall Street Journal. The problem with the reports is that none is based on the same set of criteria. That leaves readers of the reports with a scattered impression of which firms are really superior to others.
Douglas A. McIntyre