Morning Money Memo…
Apple is making a fresh pitch to hundreds of millions of consumers in Asia to boost its sagging share of the global smartphone market. Once No. 1 in total sales, Apple now has less than 20% of the worldwide market. Apple has received final approval for an important license in China. It would allow the iPhone to run on China Mobile, the world's largest wireless network. This development and a new agreement with a major provider in Japan is almost certain to boost Apple's market share in two huge markets.
Shares in Apple fell more than 2% after yesterday's announcement of two new iPhones. The company was once famous for its flair, secrecy and surprises at product announcement events. "Steve Jobs is missing here," says Murillo Campello, a finance professor at Cornell University. "There hasn't been any introduction of any new ideas that were as revolutionary as the ideas that he had."
There was one software surprise. In a challenge to rival Microsoft, Apple is offering iPhoto iWork and iMovie mobile productivity apps free. The Sept. 18 release of iOS7 software is set to include a new look and important anti-theft features.
Mutual fund fees can really hurt investment returns. New research from bankrate.com finds many employees, especially at small firms, pay a great deal of money over the years. The level of fees paid on your 401k savings funds may depend on where you work. "People at the very smallest companies pay about three times more than employees at the very largest companies," says Sheyna Steiner, a senior investment analyst at Bankrate. Higher fees can have a huge impact on an average earner over time - "after 35 years of working a difference of over $100,000." Steiner says savers should pay attention to annual fees. "Choose the lowest cost mutual funds: typically those are going to be index funds."
Netflix is launching its video streaming service in The Netherlands, its 41st country. The video company has been on a roll in recent months. Netflix share price has more than tripled this year to lead the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
As diplomacy-not-war talk takes center stage in the Syrian crisis, stocks are rising and oil prices are falling. Over the past week the Dow Jones Index has gained nearly 2 and a half percent. The Nasdaq is up more than 3%. Oil prices fell to around $107 a barrel for light sweet crude. The Standard & Poor's 500 index had its sixth straight gain yesterday, the longest winning streak since July. But the market has improved only recently as stocks set new highs in early August. The high-technology-dominated Nasdaq index is now at its highest level in 13 years.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is urging swift progress to create a regional banking union. He says the EU's 28-member states must complete the project to "make sure taxpayers are no longer in the front line to pay" when banks fail. He spoke today to the European Parliament.
The government is getting closer to selling all of its General Motors stock. The Treasury Department said in its August report to Congress that it sold $811 million worth of GM common stock last month. The report says the government has recovered about $35.4 billion of the $49.5 billion bailout it gave the Detroit automaker. That means taxpayers are still $14.1 billion in the hole.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc