For the first time in several weeks, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) did not close the week at a record high. Share prices did close at a record $133.00 on Monday, but gradually slid for the rest of the week to close Friday at $128.46. Monday's 2.2% surge brought Apple's market capitalization to over $765 billion, more than twice that of Exxon's $374 billion cap. The last time the largest cap doubled the second largest was 30 years ago, when IBM took the top spot over Exxon. Apple is now a 30% jump away from becoming the world's first trillion dollar company.
Despite Apple's immense success, Germany's Berenberg Bank, a respected financial institution, lowered its target price to a shocking $60. Analyst Adnaan Ahmad believes that Apple is too reliant on the iPhone, which accounts for 70% of the company's revenues and 85% of its profit. Once the iPhone 6 market quiets down, he believes Apple will experience negative growth. He doesn't expect much from the Apple Watch either, but he does see potential for Apple
in the automobile industry, and believes the company should acquire Tesla to establish a beachhead. Although this is an extreme outlier, Berenberg doesn't hold the only bearish outlook. Wells Fargo has a target price from $105 to $115 and Cowen and Company has a $115 target. The 12 month price target consensus is currently $136.
Swedish telecom giant Ericsson filed a multitude of lawsuits against Apple on Friday, two with the International Trade Commission and seven with U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The suits stem from patent licenses that Apple had been leasing from Ericsson since 2008. The agreement expired last month, Apple chose not to renew, Ericsson filed suit. The 41 patents in question involve 2G, 3G and 4G technology. In addition to damages, Ericsson is seeking a ban on U.S. sales of iPhones and iPads that infringe on its patents.After being awarded $533 million by a jury in a patent infringement trial that concluded on Tuesday, patent licensor Smartflash filed a second suit against Apple on Wednesday. The original suit claimed that Apple had infringed on Smartflash patents involving data storage and mobile payment systems. The second suit is the same, but includes the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and iPad Air 2.
On Thursday, Apple sent out invites to its "Spring Forward" event. It will be held on Monday, March 9 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 9 AM PT. It's all but a certainty that Apple will announce an official launch date for the Apple Watch. The company will likely unveil new information on its wearable as well, including cost, details on battery life and more.
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As part of its annual Investor Day on Tuesday, Chase announced that over one million of its customers have linked their credit cards to Apple Pay. Also on Tuesday, Visa Europe announced that it will introduce its "tokenization" service to participating banks by mid April. Tokenization is a security measure that Apple Pay relies on, thus the move will open more opportunities for Apple's mobile wallet. A third piece of good news for Apple Pay, albeit smaller than the first two, came on Thursday when Firehouse Subs announced that it would accept Apple Pay at all 860 of its U.S. locations.
It appears that Apple has acquired Camel Audio. The company, which is known for its Alchemy software that includes music plug-ins, synthesizers and sound effects libraries, closed shop in January. It re-emerged last week with a new address: 100 New Bridge St., London, which is Apple's London address. Apple issued its standard comment saying that it often acquires smaller tech firms and does not reveal its purpose or plans for them.
On Monday, Apple announced a €1.7 billion plan to build two data centers in Europe. One will be in Galway, Ireland, the other in Denmark's central Jutland. Both will be powered by 100% renewable energy and will serve iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri to European customers.