Billionaires Help Boost Apple Shares

VIDEO: Shares of Apple Inc. shot up 5 percent after Carl Icahn took to Twitter about his stock purchase.

Morning Money Memo….

Love Apple, hate Apple, love Apple again? Over the past year Apple stock has been on a roller coaster ride. The price hit $700 last September and plunged to under $400 a share in February. For the first time since January the per-share price yesterday briefly hit $500. Two famous billionaire investors, Carl Icahn and George Soros, are behind the latest Apple surge. Regulatory documents show Soros more than doubled his stake in Apple in recent months. The disclosure came a day after Icahn took to his Twitter account to announce he has built a large stake. Icahn hasn't yet specified how much Apple stock he owns, but has already urged CEO Tim Cook to increase the amount of money that the company is spending to buy back its "extremely undervalued" stock. Soros hasn't indicated that he intends to pressure Apple to do things differently.

Apple plans to introduce new versions of the iPhone and iPad before the holidays, reports Bloomberg News. The new iPhone may be unveiled at a company event four weeks from now. "Updated iPad models, including an iPad with a thinner body design and an iPad mini with a high-resolution screen will be unveiled later, two people said," reports Bloomberg. Apple has already announced that software for mobile devices and Mac computers will be updated.

The stock market is down for the first two weeks of August. Mounting expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to reduce its monetary stimulus next month is one reason for the decline. The S&P 500 has fallen six of the past eight trading days and futures are down this morning.

Two big retailers are out with disappointing reports. Wal-Mart is cutting its annual profit outlook after reporting second-quarter results that missed Wall Street estimates. Sales at US stores open least a year fell 0.3 percent compared with 2012. Wal-Mart shares fell nearly 3 percent this morning in pre-market trading. This report follows weak results yesterday from Macy's. The department store company also cut its full-year earnings outlook. Macy's revenue slipped to $6.07 billion, short of the $6.26 billion analysts expected.

The US is on track to end the year with the fewest homes repossessed by lenders in six years, according to new data from RealtyTrac. The foreclosure listing firm says lenders repossessed just under 37,000 homes last month. At the monthly average pace through July, completed foreclosures are projected to total nearly 490,000 this year. That's 27 percent below 2012's total and the fewest foreclosures since 2007.

Cisco Systems plans to cut 4,000 jobs worldwide, or 5 percent of its workforce. The network equipment maker says global demand for IT goods and services is unstable. "What we see is a slow steady improvement, but not at the pace we want," Cisco CEO John Chambers told analysts in a conference call. The company announced an 18 percent rise in quarterly profit.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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