The US stock market declined on the last trading week of the year with the stocks closing on a slightly negative note. Tech stocks put some pressure on the market during the shortened trading week between December 26 and December 29, extending the losses from the previous week on the back of market participants adjusting their expectations regarding the GOP tax bill effect on tech companies. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was among the biggest losers in the tech space following a report of soft iPhone X demand. The report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily, citing anonymous sources, said that Apple would cut its sales forecast for the flagship phone to 30 million units last quarter from the previous estimate of 50 million. The report also put some pressure on companies that supply iPhone components. On Tuesday, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) had its worst day since August.
Nevertheless, tech stocks closed their best year in 2017, with Nasdaq Composite registering gains 11 of 12 months, which was a first in the Index’s history. Among the winners last week were retailers, such as J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) and Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), whose shares appreciated on Tuesday after the Mastercard SpendingPulse report showed strong holiday sales that increased by 4.9% on the year, the highest growth since 2011. However, retailers gave up most of the gains towards the end of the week. Energy stocks also gained some ground on Tuesday after US crude futures touched $60 for the first time in over two years following news of a pipeline explosion in Libya.
Aside from Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), a number of other stocks were in the spotlight last week on the back of different developments. In fact, according to TrackStar, InvestingChannel’s official newsletter capturing and analyzing the trends of Financial Advisors, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) ranked as the eighth most searched ticker among Financial Advisors last week, being outranked by companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PTX), which ended up on the top two spots. However, the only major development for Valeant Pharmaceuticals last week was their agreement with billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square to settle lawsuits related to their attempt to buy Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN). Pernix Therapeutics is a $28 million pharmaceutical company that didn’t have any significant news.
Other stocks that were among the most searched tickers last week were World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE), and Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU).
One stock that captured attention last week is Energous Corp (NASDAQ:WATT), which was the third most-searched ticker among Financial Advisors last week. Energous Corp (NASDAQ:WATT)’s shares surged by 120% between December 26 and December 29, mainly on the back of the Federal Communications Commission certifying its first-generation WattUp Mid Field transmitter. WattUp Mid Field transmitter sends focused, radio frequency-based power to devices at a distance of up to three feet. The certification is the first for power-at-a-distance wireless charging under Part 18 of the FCC’s rules. Energous plans to demonstrate the technology at CES 2018, the largest consumer electronics exhibit that will be held between January 9 and 12 in Las Vegas.
On the back of certification news, Energous Corp (NASDAQ:WATT)’s stock surged and analysts jumped in to update their ratings on the stock. Roth Capital boosted its price target on the stock to $45.80 from $22.80 and maintained a ‘Buy’ rating, citing the certification and expectations that the company will be able to continue improving the technology.
However, not everybody received the news regarding the certification positively. Widely-followed Citron Research called out Energous on Twitter, saying that it has “a history of deception and the recent FCC info is no different.” Citron’s tweet also bashed Roth’s upgrade, saying that it’s as ridiculous as “their defense of Unipixel until BK”.
Soon after Energous Corp (NASDAQ:WATT) certification, its competitor Powercast also received FCC approval for its own at-range wireless charging transmitter. Powercast’s transmitter can charge devices up to 80 feet away, but it only works for small, low-power devices. Powercast also plans to unveil its three-watt PowerSpot transmitter at the CES, but it also announced that it plans to start selling PowerSpot in the third quarter of 2018 with a price tag of around $100.