What's Important in the Financial World (9/12/2012)


All Eyes on Apple Today

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) probably will introduce the new iPhone 5 today. What can be said that has not already been said? Nothing. The smartphone may have the capacity to connect to superfast 4G LTE networks. It might have a better camera. It may be slightly bigger than older versions. The Siri voice recognition feature, which has been a bit of a failure, may work more precisely. Sales of the iPhone 5 may reach 10 million this month. They may not reach 10 million. Apple's competitors like Samsung have sold too many smartphones recently to allow Apple to get its normal surge in sales. If the iPhone does not sell well, Apple's shares will drop. If the iPhone sells well, Apple's shares will drop because the success of the device is already priced into the stock and clever investors will take profits. Perhaps the most wild speculation is what features the iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 will have. Once the iPhone 5 is released, the press has to turn its attention and speculation somewhere.

U.K. Unemployment Little Changed

The U.K. Office for National Statistics reported that unemployment in the three months that ended in July was 8.1%. The is up from 8.0% for the three months which ended in June. The actual change was tiny. The number of unemployed people in fact fell 7,000, based on the two comparisons. It is a wonder the numbers were not worse. The United Kingdom probably has entered a second recession in five years, which has increased calls for stimulus spending. In the meantime, Prime Minister David Cameron has been caught between his own promise to reduce deficits - mostly through austerity - and a growing rage about the effects of these cost cuts on the nation's prosperity.

2012 Best Colleges and Universities

What would the autumn be without the release of the U.S. News & World Report ranking of best colleges and universities. And what would the list be without Harvard - founded in 1636 and the college of at least eight U.S. presidents - at the top, followed Princeton and Yale. The report ranks about 1,600 schools. The method of research behind it is questioned by most schools, except probably Harvard. Statisticians also claim the list is junk. Nevertheless, students and their parents continue to use it as an important guide. The most critical thing for U.S. News, once a major American weekly magazine, is that people pay for the full guide. Only $34.95 for the entire report. A deal if one was ever to be had.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, featured