Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS), VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC)
Apple Supplier Cirrus Warns of Weak Results (WSJ)
Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS) -13.46% a supplier for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) -4.16% said it expects to record a significant inventory reserve charge in the fourth quarter and that its margins for the period will be weaker than expected. The chip maker’s shares dropped 14% to $13.72 in early trading Wednesday as the company late Tuesday also offered downbeat first-quarter revenue guidance. Cirrus Logic makes energy and audio chips, and its share price has lately fluctuated along with the perceived fortunes of Apple, its biggest customer. Apple’s iPads and iPhones use Cirrus audio chips, boosting the chip maker’s top line dramatically in recent quarters.
Amazon gains against Apple’s iTunes in music downloads (EconomicTimes)
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has grabbed more than a fifth of the market for digital music downloads, helped by the launch of its own tablet computers and aggressive pricing, according to an industry study released on Tuesday. AmazonMP3, the online retailer’s digital music business, had 22 per cent of the market for music downloads in the United States in last year’s fourth quarter, research firm the NPD Group said in its Annual Music Study. That compares with 15 per cent in 2011, 13 per cent in 2010, 10 per cent in 2009 and 7 per cent in 2008, NPD data showed. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s iTunes store, which turns 10 years old on April 28, was still dominant with 63 per cent of the market in the fourth quarter of 2012. But that was down from 68 per cent in 2011 and 69 per cent in 2009, according to NPD.
Apple Named in China Porn App Investigation (WSJ)
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) -4.66% is once again in the pages of the People’s Daily, this time in an article listing a number of websites and app stores that have been investigated for providing pornographic content in China. The Cupertino, Calif., company’s appearance on the list (in Chinese), which mostly includes relatively obscure websites, has spurred concern on the Chinese Internet that this may represent the beginning of another campaign by the government against Apple. But Apple’s most recent appearance in state media is markedly different from the March attacks that prompted an apology from Chief Executive Tim Cook.
Facebook Is Said to Hire Apple Maps Executive in Mobile Push (BusinessWeek)
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has nabbed another member of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s original iPhone team, hiring Richard Williamson, the manager who had led Apple’s mapping efforts, according to people with knowledge of the hire. Williamson joined Facebook in the past couple of weeks to be a manager within its expanding mobile-software group, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Williamson, who worked at Apple for more than a decade, was one of the engineers assigned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to build software for the iPhone. He was later put in charge of the effort to replace Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s mapping service for the iPhone and iPad. Williamson was fired by Apple in November as part of a management shakeup after its mapping product was criticized for misguided directions and inaccurate landmark locations.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) should make Google Maps the default mapping app says Schmidt (USMarketBuzz)
After Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) made a mess of Apple Maps on its iPhone 5 and its iOS6 operating software, the company had to make a climb-down and advise its customers, that they could use Google Maps on their mobiles. Apple Maps was supposed to replace Google Maps, as Apple did not want to be too dependent on Google, which was not quite amenable to complying with the iPhone maker’s demands. There also have been rumours about Apple being unwilling to submit to Google’s user data conditions for adding features such as turn-by-turn navigation to iOS Google Maps. Google, never a company to bear a grudge, still went on updating its maps to suit Apple’s new OS.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) At War With Samsung In India (InsiderMonkey)
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does not make it a habit to compete on price alone. While the company is not opposed to price cuts on some products and offering deals on others, it is safe to say that it is never going to sit at the bottom of the market as far as cost is concerned. However, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is finding itself in the middle of a price war with Samsung in India. While the two companies are slugging it out for supremacy across the globe, things in this country are just beginning to pick up. We have talked about both company’s offering discounts as a means of attracting a growing number of customers.
Industry watchdog fines Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch $1 million (EconomicTimes)
A Wall Street regulator on Tuesday announced it fined Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)‘s Merrill Lynch $1 million in a civil action for not getting the best execution price for customer transactions involving non-convertible preferred securities and failing to properly supervise the process. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority also ordered Merrill to pay more than $323,000 in restitution to customers affected by the transactions, FINRA, an industry regulator, said. Merrill, in a settlement with FINRA, neither admitted nor denied FINRA’s findings. A Merrill spokesman said the matter predated Bank of America’s 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch. A processing error that caused the problem has been corrected, the spokesman said. Merrill has also compensated clients affected by the problem, he said.
Merrill Headcount Down But Average Revenue Rises (WSJ)
Merrill Lynch appears to be doing more with fewer advisers. Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) -4.75% (BAC) Global Wealth and Investment Management group, which is mostly Merrill Lynch, saw its full-service adviser headcount continue to steadily decline in the first three months of the year, but average revenue generated per adviser actually increased, according to the bank’s first-quarter results. The results bode well for the wealth-management unit and suggest its strong fourth-quarter was not a blip. Prior to early September 2012, Merrill’s efforts to attract top new talent were flailing due to perceived problems with its parent bank, according to advisers and recruiters.
Bank of America Struggles for Growth (WSJ)
Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) -4.84% shares dropped Wednesday after first-quarter results fell short of expectations and showed the financial giant was struggling to boost growth in its core lending business. Revenue dropped 8.4% when an accounting charge related to the bank’s debt was excluded. First-quarter profit of 20 cents a share was up strongly from a year earlier but came in two cents short of Wall Street’s expectations. The results show that despite the bank’s efforts to shrink its size and balance sheet, growth remains elusive amid low interest rates and intensified government regulation.
Bank of America in $500 million settlement with mortgage investors (Reuters)
Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) has reached a record $500 million settlement with investors who claimed they were misled by its Countrywide unit into buying risky mortgage debt. The settlement is the largest to resolve federal class-action litigation over mortgage-backed securities, surpassing a $315 million accord with the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit that won court approval last May. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) in November won approval of a $125 million settlement of similar claims. Bank of America said the settlement resolves claims on about 80 percent of the unpaid principal balance of Countrywide-issued residential mortgage-backed securities, and 70 percent of similar claims against the bank overall.
US Amasses Big Data on 10 Million Consumers as Bankers Protest (MoneyNews)
The new U.S. consumer finance watchdog is gearing up to monitor how millions of Americans use credit cards, take out mortgages and overdraw their checking accounts. Their bankers aren’t happy about it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is demanding records from the banks and is buying anonymous information about at least 10 million consumers from companies including Experian Plc. While the goal is to sharpen enforcement and rule-making, banking executives have questioned why the bureau is collecting so much without being more specific about the benefits. “Do they need the reams and reams and reams of data we’re having to provide to them?” Susan Faulkner, senior vice president at Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), asked at a banking conference in March. “Don’t we have to find a healthier balance here?”