What's Important in the Financial World (1/8/2013)

US Treasury building
US Treasury building

Samsung Profits from Apple

Samsung's most recent quarterly results offered proof that the South Korean company is the only viable smartphone company other than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and that it has continued to advance across a number of other parts of the consumer electronics arena. The company reported:

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced its earnings guidance for the fourth quarter of 2012.
Consolidated sales: Approximately 56 trillion Korean won (Range: 55 – 57 trillion Korean won)
Consolidated operating profit: Approximately 8.8 trillion Korean won (Range: 8.6 – 9.0 trillion Korean won)

Translated into U.S. dollars, and with additional information about the success, The New York Times reports:

Samsung Electronics projected Tuesday a profit of $8.3 billion in the quarter that ended last month as demand picked up for the flat screens it makes for mobile devices, including those for products sold by Apple.

How many firms make money off of their most mortal enemies?

European Unemployment

The jobs numbers from the eurozone continue to be relentlessly worse by the month, and there is no sign of a turnaround. Eurostat released data for the area, and by nation, for November:

The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.8% in November 2012, up from 11.7% in October. The EU271 unemployment rate was 10.7% in November 2012, stable compared with October4. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with November 2011, when they were 10.6% and 10.0% respectively.

The complexion of the problem, or lack of one, country by country, has not changed:

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%), Germany (5.4%) and the Netherlands (5.6%), and the highest in Spain (26.6%) and Greece (26.0% in September 2012).

The financial crisis in the region may be over for now, but it is hard to see how it cannot return in some form as Europe dips more rapidly into a recession.

Sony's Underwater Phone

Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has had almost no success in the handset and smartphone sector since it bought out joint venture partner Ericsson. Based on the products it showed at the Consumer Electronics Show, that will not change. Instead of a direct assault on the Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5, it released a phone that can sit under water for a long time without any damage. It is hard to say why that is a practical advantage. According to TG Daily:

Sony's launched a new smartphone, the Xperia Z, that it says can be dunked in the bath for half an hour or more without experiencing any ill effects.

It is based on a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and also has a five-inch 1080 x 1929 HD display and 13-megapixel camera, and - thanks to Sony's Bravia TV division - can record high dynamic range (HDR) video.

It's compatible with 4G LTE, and an NFC chip allows it to stream content to Sony TVs when it's tapped against the remote control. Similarly, when it's used to play music, tapping it on a Sony speaker switches the song to that instead.


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