As Apple inches closer to a $2 trillion market-cap valuation, BofA analysts just downgraded the stock to Neutral noting “risks should not be ignored.”
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s planned stock split in the wake of the surge in its shares and strong earnings is stirring more bets on the company, according to TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.Activity in the world’s largest technology company “sticks out” over the past week, a repeat of the pattern seen in previous years when Apple split its stock, Christopher Brankin, chief executive officer of brokerage TD Ameritrade Singapore Pte, said in an interview Tuesday.“It’s something that we’re seeing across our options here because of that announcement,” he said, referring to the use of derivatives to bet on more gains in Apple shares.The iPhone maker’s quarterly report last week crushed Wall Street expectations amid pandemic demand for its products, and the company announced a four-for-one split for later this month to make its stock more accessible. The shares have risen six straight days, gaining about 18% in that time, and closed Wednesday at $440.25.Signals from the options market are flashing enthusiasm for Apple, such as unusually high relative prices for upside bets, according to RBC Capital Markets strategist Amy Wu Silverman.Apple options are pricing in more upside risk versus downside than at any time this year, despite the stock having almost doubled from its mid-March lows, Chris Murphy, derivatives strategist at Susquehanna Financial Group LLLP, wrote in a note Monday. Smaller traders have been a big portion of such bets in recent months, according to Sundial Capital Research Inc.That’s part of a wider fervor for the stay-at-home trade favoring some technology stocks. More than 82,000 users of the U.S. investing app Robinhood.com added Apple to their accounts in some form over the past week, according to website Robintrack.net, which aggregates data from the brokerage but isn’t affiliated with it.(Updates the chart after the third paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the name of the TD Ameritrade unit in the second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. set out its premium Android device lineup for the rest of the year with the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 series and a teaser for the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable in its first virtual launch event.Having lost the crown of world’s biggest smartphone maker to Huawei Technologies Co. in the second quarter and seen the coronavirus pandemic drive customers to cheaper devices, the company’s betting on a refresh of its entire ecosystem of products to reignite interest.Led by the 6.9-inch Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Samsung’s new portfolio echoes close rival Apple Inc.’s by centering a large-screen, high-spec smartphone in an ecosystem that includes a smartwatch, true wireless earbuds and a choice of tablets for work and play. The Samsung difference is that it’s putting 5G networking on its phones and tablets and also expanding its range with the foldable Galaxy Z Fold 2, which is yet to be fully detailed, and the $1,450 Galaxy Z Flip 5G, announced in July.The Ultra edition of the Note 20 starts at $1,299.99 and includes a 108-megapixel camera, Samsung’s most-advanced displays with faster touch responsiveness and animations, 12GB of memory and up to half a terabyte of expandable storage. The 6.7-inch Galaxy Note 20 trims a few of those specs back for a $999.99 price. Both devices feature the signature S Pen and go on sale on Aug. 21.Samsung’s new wireless earphones, called the Galaxy Buds Live, will be on sale Aug. 6 for $169.99, featuring a distinctive bean-shaped design and active noise cancellation -- taking on Apple’s AirPods Pro in a market that still has ample room to grow. Available at the same time and fleshing out Samsung’s wearable proposition is the Galaxy Watch 3, which starts at $399.99 without a cellular connection or $449.99 with LTE. And the new Galaxy Tab S7 devices, Samsung’s answer to the iPad, cost $649.99 and up and will arrive later in the fall.Read more: Why Samsung Had to Delay the Galaxy Foldable PhoneThe Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the successor to Samsung’s first foldable device, which came out in 2019, but only after a delay following design defects. Samsung has made significant improvements in the interim, showing off a nearly bezel-less 7.6-inch interior screen on the new device and a 6.2-inch display on the exterior that makes the Z Fold 2 function much more like a phone. There will be a limited Thom Browne edition of the device, extending the partnership with the New York designer that started with the Z Flip earlier this year.During the Unpacked event, Samsung said it plans to detail specifications, pricing and release dates for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 on Sept. 1. Pre-orders will begin on the same day. Samsung shares were up as much as 2.1% in morning trading on Thursday.Samsung’s latest premium lineup comes at a time when the industry is gauging consumer sentiment in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic fallout. The company’s Galaxy S20 series, launched at the start of the year, suffered a sales slump due to global lockdowns and plant shutdowns.Smartphone sales have shown signs of recovery, but those have largely been contained to the budget segment that includes the iPhone SE, Galaxy A series and low-end to mid-range phones from Chinese vendors. The competition around 5G smartphones will likely intensify once Apple enters the fray with its iPhone 12 later in the year.“The pandemic doesn’t exactly create a fertile environment for the launch of ultra-premium phones nor wearable devices,” said Bryan Ma, vice president of research at IDC. “This is not only due to the lingering economic uncertainty, but also in that these devices need to be seen and touched in physical retail stores.”Read more: Samsung’s Answer to IPhone Is a Galaxy of PartnershipsExtending its partnership with Microsoft Corp., Samsung will offer the streaming of more than 100 Xbox games direct to Samsung phones and tablets from Sept. 15. That will be under the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and Samsung is preparing to sell a bundle that includes a Bluetooth wireless controller.In another effort to build out a more cohesive ecosystem, Samsung has added wireless file transfer to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that works by just pointing it at compatible devices. Samsung said it plans to expand that functionality to include augmented-reality guidance to help users find things like their keys more easily or replace them altogether by using the technology to lock and unlock their home digitally.Customers will be able to pre-order the Galaxy Note 20 series from Aug. 6 and receive credit toward buying accessories or other Samsung services.(Updates with Galaxy Z Fold 2 launch schedule in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.