Apple just crossed the trillion Dollar threshold. Shares have been rising, up over 27% this year, on strong sales figures. Everything seems good, right? Think again, says Barron’s, as it believes the stock could be in for a “clobbering”. The reason why is that Apple’s recent success with the iPhone X may have weakened its prospects for 2019. Because there is a longer and longer timeline between phones that have the dazzle to get customers to actually trade up, currently good iPhone X sales may be sapping demand for 2019, meaning the next few quarter’s earnings might be quite disappointing.
FINSUM: This makes sense to us. Customers only have so much wallet share for smart phones, and the iPhone X took a lot of that this year, which means the next several quarters could be lean.
Advisors looking for good sources of income for clients should check out this piece, which is comprised of actual advisor ideas. Income is a tricky question at the moment, as one needs to preserve short-term income but also protect against rising interest rate risk. One key point is to focus on total return, or harvesting income not just from coupons and dividends but from portfolio gains too. While reaching for good yields in bonds can be very risky at the moment, considering sticking to traditional short-term bonds, but laddering their maturities from 1 to 5 years. Once you have that in place consider adding some higher-yielding options, like high yield municipals. MLPs are another good potential option given how strong the oil market is.
FINSUM: This is a nice range of specific ideas from other advisors. We favor short-term bonds for income right now, as yields are solid and interest rate risk is comparatively lower.
We saw an article that caught our eye today. How does earning a 1.8% yield on cash sound? If that sounds enticing, consider putting some money in Betterment’s new Smart Saver option. Betterment is seeking to compete with digital banks, who have been boosting interest payouts recently, by offering a product for cash that might be stagnating in a savings account. The yield is backed by a mix of 80% short-term US Treasury bonds and 20% US short-term investment bonds. The only catch is that the account is not FDIC insured, which is a hindrance compared to some bank accounts which are offering comparable yields and are FDIC insured.
FINSUM: This seems like a good offering in principle. Betterment’s argument against the competition is that unlike banks, their holdings directly track the Fed instead of being artificially manipulated to optimize net interest margin.
Tesla’s stock is currently in limbo. The company is under SEC investigation on multiple fronts, including for the tweet heard round the world, or Elon Musk’s announcement that he intended to take the company private. Markets are finding it hard to handicap the odds of the deal, which is supposed to take place at $420, actually coming through. However, JP Morgan made a big comment on the company this week, saying the funding to take the company private had likely not been finalized. JP Morgan cut its price forecast to just $195, or well under half the price at which Musk wanted to buy the company back. Tesla’s shares are currently trading around $308.
FINSUM: Based on the news that has come out since the tweet, it does seem like Musk exaggerated having the funding secured, which makes this whole deal look very shaky.
Trump spooked currency and Treasury markets yesterday. Speaking in the context of the US’ trade tussle with China and others, Trump said he wasn’t thrilled with the Fed’s interest rate hikes. He said that in the trade battle with China, the Fed should be accommodative with its policy. Trump called Beijing a currency manipulator, and said the Euro was being manipulated also. Speaking on Trump’s comments and his new consistency in criticizing the Fed, one analyst said “This is now a serious headwind to the dollar”.
FINSUM: It is true that a constantly strengthening currency is difficult to deal with in a trade war, but that the same time, the Fed’s job is to look at US economic fundamentals. That said, how rate decisions would affect the economy via a trade war do seem like they would be within the Fed’s purview.