Apple Takes Top Place in China
Apple Inc. (AAPL, -0.01%) has taken the top place in China. As a result of iPhone sales, the company is now holding a 27.6 percent market share by volume. The demand for Apple products was boosted by the recent release of the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6. By the end of February, the top selling smartphone in China was the iPhone 6 with a market share of 10.2 percent. This was then followed by the RedMI Note from Xiaomi Inc. and then the iPhone 6 Plus. According to researchers at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, there has been a strong appetite for Apple products in urban China since the iPhone 6 was launched. This demand has continued into the Chinese New Year. Other older Apple models are still selling strong and this has enabled the tech giant to overtake the local brand Xiaomi as China’s No. 1 smartphone vendor. In the latest period, the subscribers of China Mobile Ltd. accounted for 59 percent of the total sales of iPhones. Meanwhile in the U.S., by the end of February, the iPhone market share had dropped by 38.8 percent. Despite this decline, the iPhone 6 model is still the best selling smartphone. As a result of the demand of the new Apple device in China, analysts have raised their price target on Apple shares. Also, for the fiscal second quarter, a 10% earnings-per-share has been forecast.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks finished the shorter trading week with modest gains. This increase came in response to better than expected jobless claims as investors have now shifted their focus to the nonfarm payrolls report due out today. Since the markets will be closed today for the Easter holiday, reaction to this report will have to wait until Monday yet we should be able to gauge investor sentiment by the futures market which will be briefly open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced 0.4%, or 65.06 points, to 17,763.24. For the week, the blue chip index gained 0.3%. Also, the S&P 500 index (SPX) rose 0.4%, or 7.27 points, at 2,066.96. The benchmark index also booked a weekly gain of 0.3% while the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) ended the session up 0.1%, or 6.71 points, to 4,886.94. For the week, this tech heavy index was 0.1% lower.
In forex trading on Thursday, the U.S. dollar (USD) extended losses. This decline came despite better than expected data out of the U.S. In their report, the Department of Labor in the U.S. said that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending 28 March dropped to 268,000, down 20,000, beating expectations for a fall to 285,000, down 3,000. This marked a nine week low while the previous week’s total was at 288,000. In a separate report, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the trade deficit in the U.S. narrowed from $42.68 billion in January to $34.44 billion in February. This marked the lowest level since February 2009. Other data also showed that in February, factory orders in the U.S. increased 0.2%. This beat expectations for a decline of 0.5%. Meanwhile, the EUR/USD traded at 1.0880, up 1.08% while the GBP/USD held steady at 1.4821. Elsewhere, the greenback was little changed against the yen, with USD/JPY at 119.77 while USD/CHF declined 0.88 percent to 0.9584. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 97.79, down 0.74%.
In Asian trading on Friday, crude oil prices rose despite the prospect that more oil from Iran will hit the market as Western powers sign a tentative nuclear deal with Iran. A final agreement could be reached by June this year. WTI crude oil for delivery in May traded at $49.53 a barrel, up 0.24 percent on the NYMEX. Meanwhile on Thursday, Brent oil for delivery in May declined 2.67 percent, or $1.52, to trade at $55.58 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. Also, according to Baker Hughes, the industry research group, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the country last week was at 813. This marked the lowest number since March 2011.