Wearable Market to Be Boosted by Apple & Fitbit
Thanks to the likes of Apple (AAPL, +0.46%) and Fitbit (FIT, +48.40%), the wearable devices market is expected to triple this year. This comes with the launch of Apple’s premium priced smartwatch on the one spectrum and the sub-$100 fitness tracker which was made more prominent in the market this week by Fitbit. According to IDC, an industry tracker, the industry is expected to ship 72.1 million units this year. This marks an increase of 173 percent from 2014 where 26.4 million units were shipped. Added to this, these shipment volumes are expected to continue experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 42.6% over the next five years. The end result is 155.7 million units in 2019. According to Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst at IDC, wearables that do not host third-party apps such as those from Fitbit, have been leading the growth in the market until now, however, it is now expected that smart wearables that do host third-party apps, such as the Hololens goggles from Microsoft (MSFT, +1.63%) and the Apple Watch, will lead the way in 2016. In recent trade, the shares of Apple traded at $128.07, up 0.6% compared to the shares of Microsoft which are trading at $46.38, up 0.9%. On Thursday morning this week, Fitbit had their initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. The company priced the shares at $20 each on Wednesday but then opened on Thursday morning with a price of $30.40 a share.
Thursday saw U.S. stocks rising sharply and as a result, the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq Composite index reached record highs. Added to this, the main indices also recorded their 3rd day of consecutive gains. The Russell 2000 index (RUT, +1.29%) increased by 1.3%, or 15.88 points, to 1,284.17. This marked a record close which surpassed the record set on the 15th of April. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP, +1.34%) gained 1.3%, or 68.07 points, to 5,132.95 which topped the previous record the tech heavy index reached on the 19th of May. Also, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced 1%, or 180.10 points, to 18,115 while the S&P 500 index (SPX) also gained 1%, or 20.80 points, to 2,121.24. This index closed less than 10 points below its all-time closing high. According to John Augustine, a chief investment officer at the Huntington Trust, it was interesting to see that large caps were outperformed by small-caps especially a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve downgraded the economic growth to 1.9 percent.
In forex trading on Thursday, the U.S. dollar (USD) pared back losses against other currencies. This came after the release of mixed economic reports out of the U.S. while on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve stated that the economy is still not strong enough and so interest rates were maintained. Data released on Thursday showed that consumer prices in May increased at the fastest rate in more than two years, advancing 0.4 percent, compared to a gain of 0.1% in April. This beat expectations for an increase of 0.5% while inflation was still well below the Fed’s target of 2 percent. For May, the underlying inflation rose 0.1% which was a slowdown from 0.3% in April. In a separate report, data showed that last week, initial jobless claims fell to 267,000, down 12,000, which is a clear indication of an ongoing strengthening in the labor market. The USD/GBP traded steady at 1.5884 while the USD/JPY was trading at 122.87. Against the Swiss franc and the Australian dollar, the greenback traded lower with USD/CHF down 0.525 to 0.9171 and with AUD/USD up 1.06% to 0.7833. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 93.95.
On Friday, crude oil prices declined slightly in early Asian trade. This comes as investors shift their attention to the weekly rig count report from the oil services firm Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) to gain insight regarding the supply levels in the U.S. Last week it was reported that the oil rig count declined by 7 to 635 active rigs. This marked its lowest level since August 2010. WTI crude oil for delivery in August traded at $60.80 a barrel, down 0.04%, on the NYMEX. Meanwhile on Thursday, Brent crude oil for delivery in August traded at $64.25 a barrel, up 0.59%, or 0.38, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London.