Financial Advisors Turn Back to Apple as Stock Market Starts 2018 Strong
The US stock market had a great start of the week, with Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 hitting new records right on the first trading session of 2018. Between January 2 and January 5, the Nasdaq Composite advanced by 3.38% and the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average weren’t far behind, having registered gains of 2.60% and 2.33%, respectively. Both Dow Jones and Nasdaq Composite had the best start of the year since 2006. Investors are confident that after a successful 2017, the stock market will continue its bull run this year on the back of stronger global growth and solid earnings.
The stock market rally was led by tech stocks, which reversed the declines of the second half of the previous week, with Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) being among the leaders, followed by NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). Both semiconductor stocks saw double-digit growth last week on the back a report from the Register that said that some of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s processors have a security design flaw, which would require a significant security update of Linux and Windows operating systems to address. A number of other stocks, including Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), also inched higher last week on the back of analyst updates.
On the macroeconomic front, the US Labor Department released non-farm payroll data on Friday, which showed that the economy added 148,000 jobs in December, which was lower than the expected 190,000, although analysts suggest that it’s nothing significant to worry about and should not affect the Federal Reserve’s plans regarding interest rates.
In the meantime, among Financial Advisors it seems to be business as usual. According to TrackStar, InvestingChannel’s official newsletter capturing and analyzing the trends of Financial Advisors, the most searched tickers among Financial Advisors last week belonged to large-cap companies. On the first three spots in TrackStar’s list of 20 most-searched tickers were Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), General Electric Co (NYSE:GE), and AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T). Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was in the spotlight following several developments, while AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) made headlines on Thursday as the company said that it would launch 5G service in several US markets by late 2018 and plans to be the first telecom company there. The list of the most searched tickers also included four ETFs, iShares Russell 2000 Index (NYSEARCA:IWM), iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (NASDAQ:IBB), iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NYSEARCA:EEM), and iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV).
In this article, we are going to revisit Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which once again ranked as the most searched ticker among Financial Advisors last week, after dominating the ranking for the biggest part of 2017. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s shares surged by 48.73% last year and added another 3% in the first days of 2018 as investors anticipate many major developments in the company’s life this year. The company has to reveal how its latest two phones sold in the last months of 2017 after months of analysts’ estimates and reports on shipping delays, so investors are looking forward to the company’s financial report. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) also has to release a new product, the HomePod, a smart speaker that will compete in a market that already has two relatively established products: Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s Echo and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google Home. Given that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been in the smart speaker business since 2015 and has already released several new products in the range, such as Echo Dot and Show, and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) priced its own speaker at $349, it will be very difficult for the latter to catch up and it might have lost the battle before it’s even begun. In a press release at the end of December, Amazon said that its Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice remote were the top-selling Amazon devices of the holiday season and “were also the best-selling products from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon”.
Another development that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors are looking forward to is the new US tax code that will allow the tech giant to repatriate the cash it has stashed overseas. Last week, GBH issued a research note in which it said that Apple is likely to bring back to the US around $200 billion of its $252 billion cash pile. GBH analysts also predicted that Apple is likely to spend the money on more stock buybacks and higher dividends in 2018. In addition, the analysts speculated that a large M&A deal might be in the works for Apple, with Netflix being named as a potential target.