The Lead: Apple drops farther after failing to announce iPhone preorders
Apple continued to decline in between the announcement of its latest iPhones and the launch of the devices, as concerns grew that the newest smartphones from the Cupertino tech giant may not be as big a hit as their predecessors.
Apple stock dropped 3.2 percent to $450.12, its lowest closing price since July 29, after the company did not release pre-order totals for its new iPhones, which went on sale online Friday. Previously, Apple has released that information the Monday after new iPhones go on sale online: In 2012, Apple shares topped $700 for the first time after the company announced that iPhone 5 pre-orders had doubled the record set by the previous iteration, the iPhone 4S.
Apple has now dropped $56.05, or 11.1 percent, since introducing the iPhone 5S and 5C last Tuesday in an event at its headquarters, followed by satellite launch events in three other countries, including China. Apple seemed to be targeting China with its update, releasing a gold-colored iPhone that could be popular with the country's residents, but a Monday report from The Wall Street Journal elicited concerns about the company's ability to produce revenue growth in China.
China Telecom, the second-largest wireless carrier in the country, released its prices for the new iPhone models, and the Journal reported that the company is offering smaller subsidies, meaning a larger out-of-pocket expense for Chinese consumers who want to buy an iPhone. Apple has yet to sign a deal with the largest Chinese wireless carrier, China Mobile, for subsidized iPhones in the Chinese market, despite hopes that its event in the country would include that news.
Apple reported a strong decline in revenues from the Greater China region in its most recent quarterly report as rival Samsung capitalized on greater familiarity and connections in the country, and ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall has described China Mobile as "the largest remaining carrier which can significantly move the needle for iPhone units."
Analysts and investors hoping for growth at the most valuable company in the United States might instead look to new innovations, an area in which CEO Tim Cook has been roundly criticized. Bloomberg News reported Monday that components of the new iPhones hint at future offerings in the hot market of wearable computing; Apple has filed for trademarks for "iWatch" in several countries, hinting at a wristwatch-like device similar to one Samsung debuted earlier this month.
"Apple certainly recognizes that there is a broad range of possibilities with these technologies," Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling told Bloomberg.
Apple is expected to hold another launch event this fall focusing on the iPad, with possibilities of other innovations; one report Monday predicted an event will take place in less than a month.
SV150 market report: Facebook falls, valley solar companies rise
Wall Street gained Monday as investors reacted positively to news that Larry Summers had pulled out of the running to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. Technology stocks were not as fortunate, however: The Nasdaq was the only one of the three major U.S. stock indexes to decline, and the SV150 fell 0.8 percent with Facebook joining Apple in a steep dive.
Facebook fell 4.1 percent to $42.51, another volatile day for a company that has seen its valuation swing wildly in the past two years, which has been reflected in the up-and-down status of co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, which was released Monday with Zuckerberg at No. 20. Wall Street's attention has shifted in the past week from Facebook to social-networking rival Twitter, which announced that it has filed confidentially for an initial public offering; AllThingsD's Mike Issac reported Monday that the San Francisco microblogging company will completely overhaul its mobile products ahead of the IPO, with a focus on capturing television conversations.
Google (GOOG) dropped 0.2 percent to $887.76 while acquiring Mountain View mobile startup Bump, with AllThingsD reporting a possible acquisition price of $30 million to $60 million. Intel (INTC) also dropped 0.2 percent, to $23.39, as it continues to push toward offering cheap tablets this holiday season; Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang issued a note maintaining his low rating and $20 price target on the stock after meeting with executives. Other stalwarts of the personal-computer industry also suffered, with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) dropping 1.5 percent to $21.74 and Microsoft falling 0.7 percent to $32.80.
On the positive side, Silicon Valley's solar companies enjoyed a strong day, with San Mateo installer SolarCity gaining 4.7 percent to $35.84 and San Jose manufacturer SunPower (SPWRA) rising 3.3 percent to $24.41. Fellow cleantech company Tesla Motors (TSLA) added 0.6 percent to close at $166.58 as CEO Elon Musk seeks an engineer schooled in self-driving cars, Redwood City software giant Oracle (ORCL) moved 1.6 percent higher to $32.97 and Yahoo (YHOO) gained 1.2 percent to $29.62.
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 11.05, or 0.84 percent, to 1,307.26
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 4.33, or 0.12 percent, to 3,717.85
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 118.72, or 0.77 percent, to 15,494.78
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 9.61, or 0.57 percent, to 1,697.6
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/jowens510.