The 11th week of trading ended Friday with some mixed views by investors. And to be completely honest, I have not yet made up my mind on whether or not this was as great of a week as I was expecting. If you are an Apple (AAPL) investor it certainly was a great week but for many other equities it was pretty much ... ehhh - not great but more importantly not bad either. On Friday it seems that stocks advanced to an almost four-year high after news emerged suggesting that the rate of inflation was held in check - this served to give investors a boost of confidence that now has the potential to lead into next week.
One of the concerns this week in addition to inflation was that the U.S. economy was recovering too much. No, you did not misread this. Investors in fact were a bit concerned that if the economy was improving to the extent that it has been, speculation surfaced that the Federal Reserve would then raise interest rates sooner than its time frame of late 2014. I have never really been able to wrap my hands around this logic. It seems to me that any progress in the economy would be welcomed regardless of any potential economic tool that can be used to bring balance. Don't people still need jobs now? Can 2014 not wait? But hey, that's just me.
As far as equities are concerned, the S&P500 rose for a fifth straight week, gaining 2.4%. This was its best weekly performance since mid-December, while the Dow and Nasdaq lost some ground. It seems that investors wanted to exercise some caution leading into next week since stocks overall have been on quite a surge. But some of that was curbed on Friday as the Dow ended down 20.14 points, or 0.15%, to close at 13,232.62, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq added 1.57 points and lost 1.11 points, respectively.
It seems that investors want to be assured that corporate earnings as well as the increased margins showed in the first quarter can indeed continue. And for this reason, it is hard to not appreciate some discretion here as many analysts continue to insist that stocks remain in significantly overbought levels, some of which we are going to discuss here that also made some headlines this week for one reason or another.
On Thursday networking giant Cisco opened its wallet once again, this time to acquire NDS, a provider of content streaming and security software, for about $5 billion to help expand its next-generation video services. The company also specializes in software that allows TV content to be delivered to a variety of devices, while preventing unauthorized access. Cisco is hoping that this deal will help grow its revenue from TV/video considerably. During the announcement Cisco CEO John Chambers said the following:
"Our strategy has always been driven by customer need and on capturing market transitions. Our acquisition of NDS fits squarely into this strategy - enabling content and service providers to deliver new video solutions that leverage the cloud and drive new monetization opportunities and service differentiation."
Growth at NDS has been a little erratic, but the profit margins have been healthy. Assuming the normal synergies that go with combining operations, this should be a reasonably accretive deal. As an investor I'm hoping that the company thought long and hard about this decision and will execute in a manner that support the added strategy without sacrificing its bread and butter routing and switching business.
Sirius XM (SIRI)
Sirius XM ended the week at $2.26, closing down 9 cents from last Friday's close of $2.35. It was at that point where I established my short bet. Investors continue to ask where is the stock heading at this point? But I think at this point the answer to that question is now quite apparent as volume seemed to have disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Next week will be pretty interesting - the reason being is that I have targeted this coming week for my opportunity to cover and will be shocked if the stock does not touch $2.20 by at least next Wednesday. There just isn't any more so called "catalysts" to speak of.
It seems the computers have now left the stock alone perhaps until the next "golden cross," or "triple witching," or "auto numbers" or "guidance" or March 7 of 2013. It seems there is always some catalyst regarding SIRI to look forward to. But remarkably, nothing ever happens when the date comes. At some point I hope reality kicks in and investors realize that as Dr. Seuss reminds us sometimes we just wait too long and waiting becomes a part of what we do - all the while ignoring the other opportunities that are passing us by.
On Friday it was the day that everyone has been waiting for as it was the day that Apple's new iPad hit store shelves. You know what that means - long lines at the stores and employees who are required to offer applause to each shopper who purchases one. If you are like me, you can't think this is cheesy enough, but as an investor of the company, you have to love the value it adds to the shopping experience.
Research firm iSuppli said it recently purchased an iPad for the sole purpose of disassembling it to estimate how much it cost to produce a single tablet. During its lab exercise the company found that there weren't many changes from the last iPad, in terms of suppliers. According to recent article:
"It's most of the same characters we saw last time around," analyst Andrew Rassweiler said. Wireless chipmakers Qualcomm and Broadcom both reappeared - Qualcomm supplying a baseband processor chip, Broadcom a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip, TriQuint Semiconductor suppling some additional wireless parts. STMicroelectronics once again retained its position supplying the gyroscope. Cirrus Logic supplied an audio codec chip.
Clearly the names that jump out at me as an investor are Qualcomm (QCOM), Cirrus Logic (CRUS) and TriQuint Semiconductor (TQNT). Investors looking to make a play on Apple without the Apple price tag may consider investing in each of these three names. Interestingly the first two are currently sitting at their 52-week highs while TriQuint, although trading less than half of its 52week high, still sports a P/E of 23. So it is hard to say where the value is at this point, but if considering a long term hold 12-24 months each of these names merit consideration.
Additional disclosure: Author is short SIRI.