Today: Apple's new bonds and previously plummeting stock find eager buyers, Wall Street rises.
The lead: Apple bonds find willing buyers, stock continues to rebound
Less than two weeks after Apple shares slid lower than $400 for the first time in more than a year, the company's shares continued a massive rebound and the Cupertino technology titan's record debt offering -- the first in its corporate history -- brought in billions as investors clamored for Apple bonds.
Apple is selling debt to investors for the first time in its history to finance its plan to return $100 billion to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases; while it has about $145 billion in cash, much of that is parked overseas, and Apple will have to pay taxes to repatriate the cash. So Apple sold $17 billion in bonds to corporate investors, the largest corporate-bond offering in history for a nonfinancial institution, with demand reaching up to $50 billion before the actual sale, according to reports.
"Apple is something everyone wants in their portfolio," Rajeev Sharma, portfolio manager at First Investors Management, told Reuters.
That did not seem to be the case as little as a week before the bond sale, when Apple stock was floundering ahead of its earnings report, which showed the first year-over-year profit decline for Apple since the iPod helped fuel a flourish of innovation with the iPhone and iPad, that in turn fed the mobile-device revolution in technology and consumer behavior. Apple shares ended that Tuesday just barely higher than $400 after closing lower than that level for three consecutive days and dipping as low as $385.10, a whopping 45 percent lower than the high Apple set just seven months prior, on the day of the iPhone 5's debut.
On this most recent Tuesday, however, Apple stock is looking much brighter. Shares gained 2.9 percent to close at $442.78, representing an increase of 9 percent overall since the company's earnings report and the highest closing price of the month of April. The company now has regained its title as most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization, pushing its total value back above Exxon Mobil's.
So despite so much negativity on the company through the fall and winter, spring seems to have brought a shine back to Apple.
"Whenever you have a very high-profile offering from a famous issuer that is a household name brand and it's a big offering, everybody wants this because of the prestige angle," Jim Angel, a visiting professor at the Penn's Wharton School, told Bloomberg News.
SV150 market report: Another new high for Tesla, SolarCity soars again
Apple's gain helped the Standard & Poor's 500 push to another new closing high for the second consecutive day Tuesday, with help from strong signs on the U.S. economy including the largest leap in home sales in almost seven years and a gain in consumer confidence.
Tech stocks were some of the most successful on Wall Street beyond Apple, with the Nasdaq composite index outgaining the Dow and S&P with a 0.7 percent increase and the SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies moving 1.1 percent higher.
Tesla once again hit an all-time intraday high Tuesday -- the third consecutive session that has occurred and seventh in the past nine sessions -- but finally cooled off toward the end of the session and closed with a 1.7 percent decline at $53.99. CEO Elon Musk plans to speak at the first conference of owners of the Palo Alto company's cars, and one hedge fund is singing the stock's praises quite loudly, but prosecutors are reportedly looking at stock sales by executives.
Musk's other prominent Silicon Valley company did not slow down Tuesday, with San Mateo solar installer SolarCity moving more than 7 percent higher for a second consecutive day. SolarCity, which counts Musk as its chairman, gained 7.5 percent to close at yet another new all-time high of $27.02 and pass valley stalwart Advanced Micro Devices in market cap; AMD performed well on its own, gaining 5.2 percent to $2.82.
Yahoo gained 1.2 percent to close at $24.73 as CEO Marissa Mayer made yet another change to the Sunnyvale company's human-resources guidelines, increasing time that workers can spend with newborn children. Menlo Park social-networking champ Facebook moved 23.9 percent higher to $27.77 ahead of its Wednesday earnings report.
Zynga lost 2.5 percent to $3.19 despite the official rollout of legalized online poker, a business the San Francisco company hopes to enter, and announcing that it will publish a game based on the popular HBO drama "Game of Thrones."
Symantec dropped 1.2 percent after the Mountain View security-software company was the victim of a single-company "flash crash" early in the session.
Up: SolarCity, AMD, Juniper, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Oracle, Nvidia, Yahoo, NetApp, Intel, Applied Materials, Google, Netflix, HP
Down: Zynga, Splunk, Yelp, Intuit, Tesla, Symantec, Workday, VMware, Electronic Arts, Gilead, eBay, SunPower, Cisco
SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech firms: Up 13, or 1.07 percent, to 1225.68
Nasdaq composite index: Up 21.77, or 0.66 percent, to 3,328.79
Dow Jones industrial average: U 21.05, or 0.14 percent, to 14,839.8
Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 3.96, or 0.25 percent, to 1,597.57
Also in the news: CEOs' high pay, IBM's dividend
IBM goes the Apple route: After its own disappointing earnings report, IBM announced a larger dividend and stock-repurchase program of its own. ... CEOs' pay keeps relatively rising: The pay ratio of CEO-to-average-worker is up 20 percent since 2009, Bloomberg News reported using its own data because the federal government has yet to begin enforcing a law that demands such information. Oracle was the only Silicon Valley company in the top 10, with Larry Ellison making 1,287 times the perceived median income at the company, good for No. 4; eBay was next at No. 15. ... Here's a shocker -- Analysts don't care about accuracy: In a survey, Wall Street analysts said accuracy of their earnings predictions was the least of their concerns. ... A big money grab for Uber?: The San Francisco car-sharing service is aiming for a $1 billion valuation in funding round, Reuters reported, though the company's CEO denied the report almost immediately. ... Netflix a big winner at Webby Awards: The Los Gatos video-on-demand company was honored as best streaming media site, and original program "House of Cards" was also honored. ... Andreessen not going anywhere: Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said he is not leaving Hewlett-Packard's board.
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.