NOTE: This story has been updated to include new Apple product launches.
The U.S. stock market kicked off the week with a slight limp on Monday, as a meager earnings slate was unable to do any real pushing or shoving. As a result, the S&P 500 finished 0.1% lower, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped marginally and the Nasdaq managed to creep a basis point ahead.
No, Monday was a light-volume day with investor interest more focused on the goings-on in Washington, where FBI Director James Comey discussed President Donald Trump’s allegations of wiretapping against former President Barack Obama, and addressed a pending investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. But this morning, the spotlight reverts back to Wall Street, with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) and Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) all getting some attention.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to today.
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
This morning, anyone visiting the Apple Store has been greeted with the following:
Most AAPL followers shouldn’t be terribly surprised at this, if only because it’s been rumored for some time now that Apple would reveal new iPads soon. The thought was that at the very least, a new iPad Pro would be on the way, and a new Macbook could also be in the lineup.
Venerable Apple rumors purveyor MacRumors notes:
“The timing of the downtime is notable given that Apple is rumored to launch new products as early as this week. Moreover, Apple commonly issues press releases at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, which is exactly when the so-called “maintenance” update is scheduled to be completed.”
And MacRumors was on the ball — it was a setup for some new products.
- Apple released “RED” special edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones. The phones will be available in 128GB and 256GB versions. The new phones will go on sale March 24, and begin at $749.
- Apple also unleashed a cheaper, $329 model iPad with 32 GB of memory and Wi-Fi capability.
- The $459 model will have the same memory and Wi-Fi, but also cellular capability.
- Apple now has a new app called “Clips” that let users create videos to be shared via Instant Messenger, as well as various social apps.
AAPL is up fractionally in response.
Nike Inc (NKE)
NKE shares are headed higher in anticipation of the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings report, out this afternoon.
Nike, which struggled mightily in 2016, and in fact was the worst-performing stock in the Dow, is rebounding well this year, up 15% year-to-date.
What’s in store this quarter?
Analysts expect NKE to earn 53 cents per share on revenues of $8.47 billion. That would be 2 cents lower on the profit side, but a gain of 5.4% year-over-year on the top line. And the company is pretty reliable come earnings time, not having missed a profit estimate in years.
Our James Brumley takes a closer look at Nike’s upcoming earnings report.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX)
FCX shares are getting a nice bump in Tuesday’s trade thanks to an upgrade from Deutsche Bank.
DB analyst Chris Terry has bumped FCX stock up from “Sell” to “Hold,” and also ginned up the price target from $12.50 to $14.00 — a modest 10% higher from here. He says:
“NPV increases to $14.2/sh (from $12.6) on higher copper prices; PT raised to $14 (from $12.5) @ 1.0x NPV, implying 4.7x 2018E EBITDA. Hold rating (from Sell) on balanced risk/reward view.”
Freeport has a little bit more new on the copper front, too: Its important Freeport Indonesia unit has resumed production at its Grasberg mine, a spokesman has told Reuters. The mine’s copper concentrate production has been shut down since Feb. 11 “after Indonesia prevented it from exporting the material used to make refined copper, and its sole domestic buyer halted operations due to a strike.”
FCX shares are up 3% this morning, which should get shares close to breakeven this morning.