The amount of speculation that Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock will fall has nearly reached the level of speculation that it will increase. Shares have run up by 50% over the past year, which is remarkable given the size of the company’s market cap. The latest analysis of the stock price is that the announcement of the new iPad 3 will be a good time to exit. New product introductions by Apple often cause a bump in its shares. The school of thought that selling is the right thing to do after the new introduction is based largely on the fact that the 50% improvement is impossible to hold. That case was made as often when Apple was at $100 as it is at the current $500 level.
Economists will say that the latest gross domestic product data from the eurozone shows that the region went into recession in the final quarter of 2011. GDP fell 0.3%, according to Eurostat. Surprisingly, much of the drag came from Germany, the region’s largest economy. GDP there fell 0.2% in the fourth quarter. The euro area can hardly recover without an improvement in Germany. No one will be shocked that Italy’s economy contracted by 0.7%. The sovereign debt of the country has been under assault for the better part of the year. The same can be said for Spain, where the fourth-quarter contraction was 0.3%.
European Car of the Year
Somehow, General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) troubled Chevy Volt, which is sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe, was named the European Car of the Year. The decision for the award is made by journalists from 27 nations. The Volt has been a sales disaster in the U.S. The car also has had problems with its batteries, and the trouble has received a substantial amount of negative press. The people who decide the European Car of the Year Award may not have read the American media. Or perhaps they have not driven the car.
One of the biggest stories from the past 24-hour business news cycle is that Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) will lay off several thousand people and restructure many of its divisions. The rumor was first reported by Dow Jones website AllThingsD. The stock market reacted by driving Yahoo!’s shares lower. There has been no announcement about what Yahoo! will do to monetize its valuable Asian assets, which are worth, by most estimates, $10 billion, or half of the portal company’s market cap. And Wall St. knows that Yahoo! cannot cut its way to permanent profitability.
Douglas A. McIntyre