The US stock market inched lower last week amid some turmoil in the White House, as President Trump announced the disbandment of the Manufacturing Council and Strategy Forum after several high-profile CEOs had quit earlier. In addition, Federal Reserve released the minutes of its July policy meeting, which showed that some participants are concerned about low inflation and argued against increasing the interest rates until it picks up. In this way, the S&P 500 declined by 0.65% between August 14 and August 18, while Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.87% amid Wal-Mart Stores’ stock plunging after the company had posted its second-quarter results, which showed better-than-expected sales and EPS, but weak guidance disappointed investors.
Financial advisors also kept an eye on the stocks that were in the spotlight last week due to various developments. TrackStar, the official newsletter of Investing Channel’s Intuition, compiled its weekly list of the 20 most searched tickers among financial advisors last week, which showed AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) on the first spot amid reports that the company’s lawyers are discussing the terms of its takeover of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) with the Justice Department, which suggests that the deal will most likely be completed. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was on the second spot, as the media was buzzing about the tech giant’s upcoming Apple Watch, and some other developments.
Retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) were also popular tickers among financial advisors last week as both posted their financial results, and so was Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), which announced the expansion of its monetization program for developers making apps for Alexa and launched a $16 billion private debt offering to fund the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) also captured the attention of financial advisors as the pharmaceutical company had reported mixed results from a late-stage study of a combination of drugs for the treatment of kidney cancer.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and do a recap of the events that surrounded the company last week. On Monday, CNBC reported that the new Apple Watch, expected to be announced in September, will not require connection to an iPhone and will be capable of making calls as a standalone device. The cellular connectivity, which will most likely be done via an embedded SIM card instead of a physical SIM, will allow users to stream music, make calls, and execute other tasks without the need for an iPhone. In other news, CNBC also said that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and health insurance company Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET) had held secret meetings the previous week to discuss the possibility of offering a free or discounted Apple Watch as a perk to its members. Aetna is one of the largest insurers in the US, with around 23 million members and currently offers an Apple Watch to its employees as part of its corporate wellness program and expanding the program would provide a boost in sales for Apple Watch. The tech giant was previously said to be working on new health sensors that would provide more data and be more useful to people with chronic disease and even might include sensors to monitor blood sugar levels, which would make it more attractive to diabetics. According to other reports, the new Apple Watch has recently entered into final testing and the company is planning to start mass production any time soon.
In other news, aside from working to get its hardware out, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also expanding in the content space. Last week, it was reported that Apple had set a budget of around $1.0 billion to invest in the acquisition and development of original content. The big budget and the wide network of loyal users of its devices and services like Apple Music means that it could be a real threat to more established companies like HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple might have up to 10 TV shows within a year and plans to offer high-quality content. The original content could support Apple’s other services like its movie rental on iTunes. A couple of days after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s plans about original content were revealed, it was also reported that movie studios were planning to enter a deal with Apple and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA). to offer movie rentals just weeks after their cinema release.
Despite a string of what looks like positive news for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), its stock ended the week just 0.1% in the green, even though it had advanced in the first three days. The stock took a hit on Thursday, following news that Ireland will retroactively collect 13 billion euros in back taxes from Apple, according to an earlier ruling by the European Union. Even though the Irish government will comply with the ruling, it pointed out that it’s unhappy about it. The money will be put in an escrow account pending Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s appeal and Ireland also plans to fight the decision before the European Commission.