Morning Business Memo…
Last year’s must-have stock looks like this year’s must-sell! Apple’s share price tumbled yesterday nearly $16 to $485.92 – the lowest value in almost a year. The price is down nearly a third since reaching zooming over $700 last summer. The latest tumble came after reports –as yet unconfirmed by the company–of much lower than expected global demand for the iPhone 5. Apple is still the world’s most highly valued company, but its lead over the number 2 firm, ExxonMobil, has narrowed. Apple rose to dominance as the world’s most profitable maker of smart phones, tablets and laptop computers.
A big blow for Boeing, the largest plane manufacturer. Boeing shares tumbled 4 percent in Europe today after Japan’s transport ministry said Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes were being grounded for safety checks. Japan’s two leading airlines fly 24 Dreamliners. One of the 787s operated by All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing in western Japan after a cockpit message showed battery problems – the latest in a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks. In the US the FAA has launched a comprehensive safety review into the 787′s critical systems.
America’s most highly valued bank, JP Morgan Chase, bounced back from last year’s embarrassing trading loss with a strong fourth quarter. The bank reported a record profit of $5.7 billion, up 53 percent from the previous year as revenue rose 10 percent. The bank’s earnings were bolstered by a surge in mortgage lending, driven in part by a series of federal programs that have helped drive down interest rates. The bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, had his bonus cut in half to $10 million because of the “London whale” trading loss.
It’s a brand new battle over Internet search: Facebook vs. Google. Until now Facebook has been the world’s leading social networking site where friends share photos and personal information. Now Facebook is launching “graph search” which is a direct challenge to Google. So far investors are not impressed. Facebook shares tumbled 2.7 percent after the announcement. Shares in the local listings site Yelp fell more than 6 percent. Yelp competes with Facebook, allowing users to share recommendations.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the US government has begun borrowing from the federal employee pension fund to keep operating without surpassing its debt limit. In a letter to Congress, Geithner says the move will free up $156 billion in borrowing authority while debate continues on increasing the $16.4 trillion debt limit. The government reached borrowing limit at the end of 2012, but began using bookkeeping maneuvers to keep from going over it.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio ABCNews.com twitter.com/daviesabc