Apple Rumors Stifle Stocks


On an otherwise quiet day in terms of major earnings announcements and economic data, the market is in a tizzy thanks to news out of the technology and financial sectors. With roughly an hour left in the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by 22 points, or 0.17%.

As I discussed earlier today, the biggest news in the market is, without doubt, that Apple may be about to report worse-than-expected figures for iPhone sales when it announces earnings on Jan. 23. All the major media outlets are citing unnamed sources that claim the technology giant reduced orders for iPhone 5 component parts by as much as 50% for the first quarter of 2013. If the rumors are true, the reduction would add credibility to claims that Apple can't operate at the same level without the late Steve Jobs at the helm. Shares in the company are down 3.4% in afternoon trading.

All three financial companies on the Dow are lower today as the nation's largest banks prepare to announce earnings later this week. Last Monday, Bank of America reported that it had reached an agreement with Fannie Mae to resolve a multibillion-dollar dispute related to toxic mortgages which the latter had purchased from Countrywide Financial, a leading subprime-mortgage originator that B of A acquired in 2008.

Investors are also awaiting two announcements related to JPMorgan Chase . First, it is widely expected that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency -- the banking industry's primary regulator -- will enter consent orders against the bank related to money laundering and risk management. And secondly, JPMorgan's board of directors is set to release a 50-page report detailing the management's shortcomings in the London Whale scandal, which led to more than $6 billion in losses after CEO Jamie Dimon publicly dismissed it as a "tempest in a teapot."

Finally, shares of American Express are still adjusting to news that it will cut 5,400 jobs from its travel business. The credit card company preannounced fourth-quarter earnings last week, reporting $637 million in net income. The bottom line was affected by nearly $1 billion in one-time charges related to the layoffs, as well as "cardmember reimbursements for various types of transactions dating back several years," among other things.

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John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America and Apple. The Motley Fool recommends American Express Company and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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