Today: A report suggests Apple faces issues with iPhone 6 screen production, but the company still hits its fifth consecutive record closing price. Also: Salesforce stock soars as sales surge sustained.
The Lead: Another Apple record despite reported production issues
Apple investors weren't fazed by reports that the iPhone 6 could be delayed by a supply chain issue, sending the Cupertino company's stock to its fifth consecutive all-time high closing price Friday to complete a record-breaking week on Wall Street.
The world's most valuable company reached a record intraday high of $101.47 and closed with a 0.7 percent advance at $101.32. Shares originally broke through Apple's closing record Monday and previous intraday high Tuesday amid hopes for the iPhone 6 and possible other new products, cracking levels unseen for nearly two years.
Apple's Wall Street momentum seemed to be threatened Friday morning by an exclusive report from Reuters that claimed suppliers had stumbled in producing enough screens to meet demand on the new iPhone, which Apple will reportedly show off next month. The story detailed an inability to produce screens with enough backlight to satisfy the iPhone's needs, though it also said that it will not necessarily delay the launch nor limit supply of the smartphone when it hits stores.
"Currently, there's a small shortage in supply of a specialized component for our communication devices," a spokesman for Asian iPhone assembler Pegatron told Reuters. "This kind of problem regularly occurs and the impact on production is negligible."
If the story sounds familiar, it is likely because similar reports cropped up ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5S last September, though that launch eventually went off with a relatively orderly supply flow. The concerns likely date back to problems Apple had with the iPhone 5 screen, which caused an early sellout of the device when it was launched in 2012, the beginning of Apple's Wall Street retreat from its previous record-setting run.
This time around, the iPhone isn't the only Apple device to be subjected to rumors of production concerns: With expectations that Apple wants to introduce a wearable device at the same event as the iPhone, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has been reporting that the so-called iWatch could be pushed back to 2015 due to manufacturing difficulties.
"We reiterate our view that iWatch, as compared to existing products, and as Apple's first attempt at a wearable device, represents a much higher level of difficulty for the company as regards component and system design, manufacturing and integration between hardware and software," the analyst wrote earlier this week.
Apple's return to record prices has been fueled by hopes for the iPhone 6 and iWatch. RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani predicted Monday that Apple could sell 70 million to 80 million new iPhones by the end of the year, and Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty following that note with a prediction that Apple could sell 60 million iWatches, at $300 apiece, in the first year of availability.
"We see iWatch as an important barometer of the company's innovation capabilities under the leadership of Tim Cook," Huberty wrote.
SV150 market report: Salesforce surges after earnings report
Silicon Valley tech stocks continued to perform well overall Friday, even as broader indexes declined, with Salesforce surging after showing off continued revenue growth.
The San Francisco cloud-software pioneer had the largest percentage gain in the SV150 on Friday, jumping 7.3 percent to $59.80 after showing off a 38 percent sales gain in the just-completed quarter. Salesforce's big-money acquisitions of enterprise-software firms ExactTarget and RelateIQ seemed to pay off in the quarter, and with forecasts that exceeded analysts' expectations. "An enhanced product portfolio, stronger sales organization, and a more focused vertical strategy continued to pay dividends," FBR Capital Markets analyst Samad Samana concluded. San Jose networking company Brocade also gained after its Thursday earnings report, adding 3.5 percent to $9.74, while Intuit retreated after showing off a loss and predicting revenue declines next year due to a cloud transition, losing 2.6 percent to $83.57.
Twitter increased 1.9 percent to $45.98 after a report suggested payments are coming to the company's platform soon thanks to a completed deal with Stripe, and the San Francisco firm topped a Glassdoor list for culture and values. Google added 12 cents to 592.54 while picking up a Los Gatos startup, and Hewlett-Packard dropped 0.4 percent to $36.84 after reports shot down rumored HP interest in a Rackspace acquisition. Oracle gained 0.1 percent to $41.63 while facing a lawsuit from the state of Oregon in the same flap that already led to the Redwood City software company suing Oregon, and Tesla Motors advanced 1 percent to $256.78 while fans waited for confirmation of reported new iPhone integration.
Up: Salesforce, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gilead, Yelp, Netflix, SolarCity, EA, Yahoo, Tesla
Down: Intuit, Cisco, eBay, Intel, HP, Symantec, VMware
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 5.78, or 0.36 percent, to 1,615.15
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 6.45, or 0.14 percent, to 4,538.55
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 38.27, or 0.22 percent, to 17,001.22
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 3.97, or 0.2 percent, to 1,988.4