Market Morning: Apple Shifts, Disney Rifts, Trump and Kim, Daimler Dive

Stock Market Roundup

Angela Ahrendts Out At Apple, To Be Replaced by Current People Head

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Head of retail at Apple, Angela Ahrendts, is leaving Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). She says that she is going after new professional pursuits, but that’s probably just face-saving rhetoric because Apple had disappointing iPhone sales amid big trouble in big China and the company is probably looking at her for explanations. Who can control macroeconomic conditions in China though? Dierdre O’Brien apparently maybe can, who is currently head of human resources at Apple, or what Apple prefers to call “People”, given that human resources are people. (Surprisingly, she is not actually head of iPeople.) This was probably at least partly a politically motivated move to head off and preempt criticism of sexism or something like that had they hired a man to replace Ahrendts, as Apple would then be accused of misogyny or something like that and trampling over the rights of women etc. Now that a woman has replaced a woman, everything should be fine, but neither of them can control the business cycle in China, that’s for sure.

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Disney Earnings Good or Bad? Depends On Who’s Reporting

In an interesting case of media trying to skew a story in either direction, we have a Fox/CNN war over just what Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) earnings mean. CNN titled its Disney earnings article “Disney Stumbles Without a ‘Star Wars’ Movie”, beginning the piece with the lede sentence “Disney‘s earnings fell sharply compared to its first quarter a year ago, but it still beat Wall Street’s expectations.” Perhaps CNN wants to see more Star Wars where light saber battles look like violent McDonald’s funhouses with people in shiny red clown suits jabbing at each other surrounded by nothing but empty space in what is a clear waste of interstellar resources. And the milking of hideously cartoon-like dinosaurish mammal things by a cantankerous Luke Skywalker. By contrast, Fox News began its own article titled, “Disney earnings beat aided by media networks, as new streaming service looms,” with the lede sentence: “Walt Disney Company shares rose in after-hours trading on Tuesday as the media and entertainment giant posted earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, in part due to strength in media networks.” It said almost nothing about Star Wars.

Trump to Meet Kim Again In Vietnam to Resolve Nuclear Pickle

US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un at the end of the month in Vietnam in a two-day summit where the two will meet and greet for another photo opportunity and maybe some Vietnamese cuisine. Media reports indicate that North Korea is still producing nuclear weapons, though nobody but the highest ups have seen these satellite images, so nobody down here really knows what’s going on besides photo opportunities. North Korea understandably wants sanctions relief so their people can, like, eat food, but the US wants a detailed list of its nuclear facilities for dismantlement first. It’s a bit of a nuclear pickle.

US Oil Imports From OPEC at 5-Year Low

This could boost oil prices. Sanctions on Venezuela are keeping about 7.6 million barrels of PDVSA crude oil floating in the gulf of Mexico, falling production out of Iraq, and and output cuts by Saudi Arabia have all contributed to the lowest January import figures of OPEC crude oil in the last 5 years. Venezuelan crude is yet to drop further, down to zero namely. Oil is at $53.50 this morning. (NYSEARCA:USO)

Daimler Earnings Tumble On Tariffs, Self-Driving Car Development Expenses

The company that makes Mercedes Benz, Daimler (OTMKTS:DDAIF), is reeling from tariff stress as earnings have plummeted by 22%, despite Mercedes sales rising 4%. Higher expenses for self-driving car development also bit into profit margins. Daimler’s current dividend yield is already over 7.5% and the stock appears to be bouncing off of 6-year lows. Could be a good buy for those who can’t afford an actual Mercedes, like most people on the planet. Mercedes is still the best selling luxury car in the world at 2.31 million new vehicle registrations last year.

 

 

 

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