Eq: Tech

(San Francisco)

In what comes as an almost apocalyptic announcement for Apple investors, President Trump indicated yesterday that he may impose a tariff directly on iPhones. When asked about whether he would do so, Trump said “Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is … I mean, I can make it 10%, and people could stand that very easily”. One analyst summarized the development this way, saying “The Street will not be taking this news lightly as with the litany of bad news Apple (and its investors) have seen over the last month … this tariff threat on iPhones out of left field from Trump and Beltway will surely add to this white-knuckle period for Apple”.

FINSUM: We don’t think this will happen. If Trump tried to raise iPhone prices 10% he would likely have a popular revolt (from both sides of the aisle) on his hands. He certainly doesn’t want that.

(San Francisco)

As of today, the FAANG stocks have shed over $1 tn in market cap since their recent highs. The turmoil pulled markets down around 2% across indices, with the Dow seeing the biggest drop at 2.21%. The losses mean once again that indices have lost virtually all their gains for the year. As one CIO put it, “absolute bloodbath for technology stocks”. The selloff seems very forward looking, as investors are quite focused on what might go right and wrong in 2019. The biggest worries seem to be around trade.

FINSUM: Here is a question: why exactly is tech selling off? Apple obviously has its own problems, but those particular issues don’t seem very relevant to Facebook etc. Panic?

(San Francisco)

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook went on the record yesterday telling the market that he feels pending regulation of the tech sector is inevitable. Cook has been a recently strong critic of the data abuses exhibited in the sector. He argued that the free market is not doing its job to protect privacy and that governmental action is necessary. In cook’s own words, “Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation … I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation . . . I think Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.

FINSUM: We have to agree with Cook about the likelihood of regulation here. The financial incentives for companies are not aligned with protecting privacy, so the government would likely need to step in to make that happen.

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