There is no doubting the fact that Apple Inc. (AAPL, +2.29%) is currently the king of Wall Street. While some investors believe that the tech giant has reached its peak, the fact is Apple is a $725 billion company which also has $230 billion in projected sales. According to Openfolio which is a network that enables traders to share their portfolios, 27 percent of investors own Apple shares and it is also the most popular stock among the 30,000 investors on Openfolio. Added to this, Apple shares make up over 21% on average of these investors portfolio assets. According to Insider Monkey, Apple is also the most popular stock among hedge funds as well as among the “smart money”. Also, these investors have enjoyed gains of over 50 percent in the past year. If you are still not convinced, then you can ask the likes of Carl Icahn and David Einhorn who have invested heavily in Apple. Let’s put it into perspective – according to FactSet, the 1st quarter of 2015 had a blended earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 index (SPX) of only 0.1 percent compared with Apple’s earnings of 33 percent for the same period. Also, the tech giant boasts an impressive operating cash flow of approximately $60 billion and also has $194 billion in cash and investments. So if you are not investing in Apple, maybe it is time for you to get in on the trading action. Apple is currently trading at $128.95 a share.
Thursday saw U.S. stocks gaining while the S&P 500 index hit a new record high. This came after a week of losses while investors are now uncertain regarding the timing of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve as a result of mixed economic reports out of the U.S. this week. At the close of trading, the S&P 500 index (SPX) advanced 1.1%, or 22.62 points, to close at 2,121.10. This marked the highest close for the benchmark index since the 24th of April while the index is also on track for a weekly gain of 0.2 percent. All 10 of the index’s components finished higher with the top performers in tech and consumer staples. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) also gained 1.4%, or 69.10 points, at 5,050.80 and is set to make a weekly gain of almost 1 percent. Following the trend was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which rose 1.1%, or 191.75 points, to 18,252.24. This blue chip index is currently only 0.2% off its all-time closing high of 18,288.63 which it set on the 12th of March while it is also on pace for a gain of 0.3% for the week.
The U.S. dollar (USD) declined to a 4-month low on Thursday. This came in response to data which showed that jobless claims in the U.S. declined last week yet this had little impact on boosting investor optimism regarding the strength of the economy in the country. According to the report by the Department of Labor, 264,000 people filed for initial jobless benefits in the week ending on the 9th of May. This was a decline of 1,000 compared to the previous week's total of 265,000. The numbers beat analysts’ expectations for an increase to 275,000, up 10,000. The EUR/USD traded at 1.1401, up 0.42% while the GBP/USD traded at 1.5777, up 0.20%. Also, the greenback traded mixed against the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar with USD/CHF down 0.31% and trading at 0.9138 while USD/CAD held steady at 1.1952. The U.S. dollar index was at 93.49, down 0.26%.
In Asia, in early morning trading on Friday, crude oil prices declined. This came in response to geopolitical tensions in the Middle East while the global supply profile remains bearish. WTI crude for delivery in June traded at $59.67 a barrel, down 0.34%, on the NYMEX. On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency reported that the oil supply globally stood at 95.7 million barrels per day. This came as a result of a slowdown in shale production in the U.S. which failed to offset the increased output from OPEC. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Brent crude for delivery in June traded at $66.66 a barrel, down 0.91% or 0.61, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).