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Ticker Shock: Apple Shines, Micro "Soft"


Thursday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.


Nice rebound yesterday. We could use a few more days --maybe another 20 -- like that.

Warning: My wife subtly reminded me last night that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I figured I should pass it along to you so you don't end up in the doghouse. (I forgot once, and I'm still paying for it.)

Asian markets rose overnight. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were up under 1% and almost 2% respectively. Meanwhile, Europe was a bit of a mixed bag earlier this morning. Here in the US we're currently trading (not again!) lower.

Here's what has my attention on this fine Thursday morning:

Apple (AAPL):
Apple looks like it'll shine in early trading.

After the bell last night, the California-based company released its first-quarter numbers and they were, in a word, good.

It put up $1.78, whereas the Street was at $1.40. In terms of a breakdown of key products, the release offered the following:

"Apple sold 2,524,000 Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing nine percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold a record 22,727,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 3% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone units sold were 4,363,000, representing 88% unit growth over the year-ago quarter."

Because shares could get a nice bump today, there might be a trading opportunity. But beyond that, I'm not a taker.

One thing that stands out to me is its outlook for March (the second quarter). Apparently, it's looking to put up between about $0.90 and a $1. That's shy of the $1.13 that analysts seem to be looking for. I sense this may dull Apple's shine in the days ahead. And Apple bulls -hold the emails. I realize the company is often conservative with its guidance.

eBay (EBAY):
Have you've been online trying to sell all your old stuff for extra money? I thought so.

After the close on Wednesday, the company known for its online mecca of merchandise released its fourth-quarter numbers.

It put up $0.41 excluding items. That was $0.02 north of expectations. Unfortunately however, the story doesn't quite end there.

Per the release: "Gross merchandise volume (excluding vehicles) was $11.47 billion for the quarter, a decrease of 12%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007."

That's a concern. Also, it's looking for $0.32 to $0.34 on an adjusted basis in the first quarter. That's an issue because the estimate I'm seeing is for $0.40.

Here's the skinny: The shares get banged like a drum in today's session. And analysts that follow this company are going to be ratcheting down their estimates. If I'm right could, this could knock the stock down more in the days ahead. I'll take a pass.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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