Today: Apple (AAPL) shares neared $600 in recovery from last week's earnings dip while big trial against Samsung gets under way. Also: Rest of Wall Street manages few gains as momentum shifts, and Yahoo's (YHOO) interim CEO leaves the company after Marissa Mayer's hire.
Apple stock recovers as Samsung trial begins
Apple stock bounced back toward $600 a share Monday amid rumors about the company's newest gadget and an investment in Twitter, while the company's heavyweight legal battle with Samsung reached a San Jose courtroom.
Apple stock fell below $600 a share last week, after the company announced quarterly earnings that were lower than analysts expected. The Cupertino tech giant, which has the largest market capitalization -- total worth of all its shares -- in the United States, began to bounce back from the dip Friday, when it announced the $356 million acquisition of Florida fingerprint-security company AdvanTec.
Monday's gain of 1.7 percent followed a New York Times report over the weekend that said Apple has discussed an investment in Twitter, the San Francisco microblogging service with which the company has worked for integration into its mobile devices. Apple is considering investing hundreds of millions in Twitter at a valuation of $10 billion, according to the report, which would give Apple a hand in one area where it has not been able to crack the consumer market, social media.
Apple's appeal to consumers is still strong without a popular social media offering -- evidenced by the fact its newest operating system, Mountain Lion, was downloaded 3 million times in its first four days -- and that should continue with the next iteration of the iPhone, which is expected to be announced this fall. The new smartphone may have received a debut of sorts over the weekend, when workers at an iPhone repair store in Japan put together a phone based on the specs rumored to be included in the newest device, including a larger screen. Additional reports have suggested that Apple will announce the new iPhone at an event on Sept. 12, though Apple did not confirm that report nor has it sent out invitations to media members for such an event.
The iPhone was at the core of the most-reported Apple news of the day, its court battle with rival Samsung. Part of Apple's worldwide legal assault on Samsung, which it claims "slavishly copied" the iPhone and iPad in introducing its own smartphones and tablets, the patent trial in San Jose brought out a bevy of reporters and observers who built up a long line outside the courtroom seeking entry, which even trapped Samsung's legal team .
The stakes are high, as Samsung has risen to No. 1 in smartphone sales on the backs of its Galaxy line, surpassing Apple. If Apple can pull out a victory in the U.S. stage of this international battle, it could face bans on some of its mobile gadgets as well as have to pay Apple as much as $2.5 billion.
Monday did not provide much excitement for those following the case, as most of the day was spent interviewing candidates for the jury, many of whom were bounced for having connections or strong thoughts about Silicon Valley's technology heavyweights, such as Google (GOOG), which makes the Android mobile operating system used on Samsung devices. Opening statements are expected Tuesday; follow the court action with live blogs, roundups and commentary at www.siliconvalley.com/apple-vs-samsung.
Wall Street's gains stall as Facebook and Zynga keep falling
The rest of Wall Street was not as successful as Apple on Monday, with stock movement stalling after a surge at the end of last week on optimism about Europe. Tech stocks had the roughest day, with the Nasdaq falling the most of the three major U.S. stock indexes at 0.4 percent.
Social-media stocks were mixed after the sector plunged last week on disappointing quarterly results from Facebook and Zynga. Those two Silicon Valley companies again closed at their lowest prices yet, with Facebook falling 2.3 percent to $23.15 and Zynga declining 2.4 percent to $3.01, but Yelp rebounded with a 5.7 percent gain and LinkedIn continue to trade separate from the wild swings of other social sites with a 0.7 percent gain. Yelp and LinkedIn will announce quarterly earnings this week on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Cisco (CSCO) had one of the largest gains in the Dow Jones industrial average Monday, gaining 1.2 percent even as one of Silicon Valley's biggest companies made a move that could help it compete against the networking giant. Oracle (ORCL) agreed to acquire network-virtualization company Xsigo, a San Jose startup that connects networks through a fiber called Infiniband. While it operates in a slightly different space than Nicira, which VMware agreed to buy for $1.3 billion last week, the move will still give the Redwood City giant a more complete networking offering. Oracle stock declined slightly, closing 0.6 percent lower; VMware fell harder, closing down 3.5 percent.
Ross Levinsohn leaves Yahoo with bevy of stock options
One of the final questions involving Marissa Mayer's hiring at Yahoo was answered Monday, when the company filed documents with the federal government that spelled out the end for interim CEO Ross Levinsohn at the company. Many expected Levinsohn to get the job permanently until Yahoo hired Mayer, and there had been no word of his fate in the two weeks since.
Levinsohn will not leave empty-handed, as Yahoo agreed to send him on his way with 250,000 stock options at $15.80 a share as a bonus for his two months running the company, along with some other perks. Levinsohn, who reportedly wanted to push Yahoo into being more of a media company, may be followed by some of his like-minded colleagues, according to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, who was also the first to report Levinsohn's departure.
Levinsohn temporarily took the helm of the Sunnyvale company when Scott Thompson stepped down May 13, following controversy stemming from Thompson's false claim of a computer science degree. "Leading this company has been one of the best experiences of my career, but it is time for me to look for the next challenge," he said in a memo to employees.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 12.25, or 0.41 percent, to 2,945.84
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 2.65, or 0.02 percent, to 13,073.01
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 0.67, or 0.05 percent, to 1,385.30
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.