Today: Amid reports of a September ship date and gold coloring for new iPhone, Apple's (AAPL) resurgent summer continues on Wall Street. Also: Facebook, Intel (INTC), LinkedIn and Google (GOOG) help push Silicon Valley stocks to a gain despite Wall Street's losses.
The Lead: iPhone chatter, Apple's stock rebound continue
As reports about Apple's next round of new iPhones flourished online, the Cupertino company's resurgence on Wall Street continued Monday, again pushing shares to their highest prices in more than six months.
Apple stock moved as high as $513.74 Monday before settling back down to close with a 1.1 percent gain at $507.74, continuing momentum that pushed the stock up 14 percent in July and has so far provided a 12.2 percent boost in August. The return to levels north of $500 follows a roller-coaster ride for the shares, which topped $700 last fall but fell below $400 this year on concerns of stalling growth patterns.
Chatter surrounding Apple concerns its next batch of iPhones, the company's smartphone offering that drives more than half of its revenue. Apple is expected to introduce new iPhones at an event next month, with an earlier report confirming the production of a low-end iPhone to pair with an updated high-end phone, which could provide a volume boost for Apple but could also bring down the company's large margins.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Apple has asked Chinese manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision, or FoxConn, to begin shipping both the low-end smartphones -- rumored to be named the iPhone 5C -- and the high-end version in early September. The Journal notes that this will be a new tactic for Apple, which has not previously released different iPhone models simultaneously, and reports of possible production problems have also begun to show up, reminiscent of Apple's issues producing enough iPhone 5 units to satisfy demand late last year.
One of the more interesting and buzzed-about features of a new iPhone on Monday focused on a specific color: Gold. TechCrunch reported that Apple would produce a gold iPhone, with AllThingsD later reporting the same. The significance of the move would most likely be felt in China, where gold is a popular color both physically and symbolically.
"If Apple did produce a gold phone, while it may not be a big hit in the U.S., it would be a very big hit in China," Creative Strategies President Tim Bajarin explained to the Mercury News. "A gold phone in China is, pardon the pun, golden in that market. It would send a huge message to the Chinese people. I've been relatively surprised that no one has targeted the China market with a gold phone yet."
Apple has suffered in the booming Chinese market, as it attempts to strike a deal with the largest wireless carrier in the world, China Mobile. In its most recent quarterly report, Apple reported a drastic decline in the Greater China region while facing a significant challenge from rival Samsung in the country.
Samsung's competition with Apple is unlikely to end, as the company has scheduled an event Sept. 4, less than a week before Apple is expected to hold an event to introduce its new iPhones. The Korean tech giant, which announced the largest smartphone to hit the U.S. market Monday, is reportedly planning to introduce wearable watch-like device at that event, putting it ahead of Apple, which sources have said is planning its own "iWatch" device.
SV150 market report: Facebook, Intel help SV150 gain even as Wall Street stalls
While the main Wall Street indexes suffered Monday, pushing the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor' index to their first four-day losing streak this year, Silicon Valley stocks rose on the backs of Apple, Intel and Facebook.
Intel jumped 1.7 percent to $22.28 as it prepares to ship its latest mobile venture; Piper Jaffray upgraded the company's stock from "Underweight," to "Neutral" and pushed the price target up from $20 to $22, noting, "The chip industry is now solidly in the post-PC era, but PCs are not going away anytime soon."
Facebook gained 2 percent to $37.81 after Evercore analysts raised their price target from $34 to $45, pointing at "improvements in ad targeting, attractive ad pricing, and stable-to-growing user engagement" for the Menlo Park social network. The news was not all good at Facebook, however, as news of a security hole that resulted in posts on CEO Mark Zuckerberg's page was widely circulated.
Google, which has struggled recently on Wall Street, moved 1 percent higher to $865.65 after being awarded a patent that could lead to advertising revenue from Google Glass. Streaming-radio service Pandora Media hit a 52-week high and gained 4.1 percent to $21.17 after Needham increased its price target on the stock from $20 to $25 ahead of the Oakland company's earnings report, due Thursday. LinkedIn gained 1.5 percent to $230.50 after opening its service up to younger users, and Tesla Motors (TSLA) rose 2 percent to $144.90 while receiving praise from an executive who knows a thing or two about electric cars.
Still, the SV150 gained only 0.2 percent as losses elsewhere balanced those gains. Solar continued to be a drag, as SolarCity fell 4.4 percent to $35.42 and SunPower (SPWRA) declined 3.6 percent to $20.58. While Intel managed a gain, other PC-focused companies suffered: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) lost 2 percent to close at $25.88, Advanced Micro Devices dropped 1.6 percent to $3.60 and Microsoft dove 1.3 percent to $31.39.
Up: Pandora, Tesla, Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, Apple, Google, Gilead
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 2.73, or 0.21 percent, to 1,299.7
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 13.69, or 0.38 percent, to 3,589.09
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 70.73, or 0.47 percent, to 15,010.74
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 9.77, or 0.59 percent, to 1,646.06
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.