When it comes to the shipment of smartphones, Apple Inc. (AAPL, +0.40%) is quickly catching up against Samsung. For the last quarter, it has been forecast that worldwide shipments were at 337.2 million, up 11.6 percent. According to IDC, the industry tracker, in terms of smartphone shipments, the tech giant Apple is now starting to outpace Samsung Electronics Co. (005930, -1.52%) on a global scale. Based on their latest estimate, there has been a distinct increase in the number of shipments compared to the 302.1 million units shipped in the same quarter last year. IDC has stated that the increase witnessed in the last quarter has come about as a result of demand for flagship devices from Samsung Electronics, from a strong demand for the Apple iPhone as well as the introduction of new players in the market. This has boosted the improvement also witnessed in emerging markets. For example, the latest brand Xiaomi increased their shipment number in 2015 by almost 30 percent compared to last year. This comes as Xiaomi predominantly targets customers in Southeast Asia and India. In addition, Samsung has witnessed a decline in volume year over year due to the competition it faces with the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s larger-screen phone. It is evident that Apple is pushing to lead the way and the fiscal 3rd quarter results marked the tech giant’s best quarter ever after the company reported iPhone sales of 47.5 million.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks traded lower. This came in response to the cautious sentiment among investors during afternoon trade as riskier assets such as stocks were sold in favor of Treasurys. In addition, the main indices gave up early gains and declined on a variety of poor earnings reports such as from American Express, 3M and Caterpillar. Before the opening bell, the jobless report boosted investor beliefs that the economy is now on track for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. This came after data showed that the weekly applications for unemployment benefits declined to their lowest level which was last seen in 1973. Despite this positive data, economists warned that July data has a tendency to be extremely volatile. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) ended the trading day down 0.5%, or 25.36 points, to 5,146.41. Also on the downside was the S&P 500 index (SPX) which lost 0.6%, or 12 points, to 2,102.15 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 0.7%, or 119.09 points, to 17,731.92. The blue chip index turned negative for the year and also closed below its 200-day moving average. According to technical analysts, this is a bearish sign for the index.
On Thursday, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded at a 1-month low. This decline came despite positive data out of the U.S which showed that jobless claims in the country decline to its lowest level since November 1973 last week. In addition progress on the Greek debt front supported the demand for riskier assets. According to the Department of Labor, in the week ending 18 July, the number of people who filed for initial jobless benefits was at 255,000, down 26,000. The previous week’s total was at 281,000 while analysts had forecast jobless claims to decline to 280,000 last week, down by 1,000. The U.S. dollar index traded at its lowest level since the 17th of July at 97.35, down 0.26%. Also, the EUR/USD traded at a 1-week high at 1.0974, up 0.41% while the GBP/USD traded at 1.5551, down 0.37%. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar also traded mixed against the Japanese yen and the Australian dollar with the USD/JPY steady at 124.05 while the AUD/USD traded at 0.7366, down 0.12%.
In Asian trading on Friday, crude oil prices gained. This increase came despite the bearish news on the supply outlook as well as the poor flash manufacturing estimates on China. Investors have now shifted their attention to the rig count data which is set to be released by Baker Hughes today. According to the Markit/Caixin survey, for July, China’s manufacturing declined to a 15-month low, down to 48.2 which is way below the expected 49.7. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Brent crude oil for September delivery traded at $55.24 a barrel, down 1.57%, or $0.89, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London. Also, on Friday, WTI crude oil for September delivery traded at $48.76 a barrel, up 0.64%.
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