Ultimate Market Recap: IPhone 5 on Sale Worldwide, KB Home Climbs 16%

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Wall Street Brief: GM Resolves Labor Issues, iPhone 5 On Sale Today

The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 went sale worldwide today. It comes with the usual craziness and lines around the block at retail stores even with the growing criticism for the phone’s Map app. For French customers, they may find challenges at stores as the union representing 25 percent of Apple’s employees voted for a strike after agreements couldn’t be reached on pay and conditions talks.

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Oracle’s (NASDAQ:ORCL) FQ1 net profit rose 11 percent to $2.03 billion while adjusted earnings per share increased to $0.53 from $0.48 thanks to a $3.1 billion stock buyback; revenue fell 2 percent to $8.18 billion, missing estimates.  The results increased concerns about declining IT spending and the company’s ability to stay with industry trends, especially the move to cloud computing. In addition, Oracle’s hardware division reported a 24 percent sales decline.

On Thursday evening, GM (NYSE:GM) and Canadian Auto Workers (AMEX:CAW) agreed on a tentative new four-year labor contract after the union threatened a strike. The deal will “create or maintain” 1,750 jobs and asks for GM to spend C$675 million ($692 million) on its Canadian factories. Just three days earlier, Ford (NYSE:F) reached a new contract; Chrysler (FIATY.PK) is now the only one without a union deal.

The European Commission approved Universal Music’s (VIVEF.PK) $1.9 billion purchase of EMI’s recorded music unit from Citigroup (NYSE:C) after Universal had promised to sell a group of labels, including Chrysalis, Mute and Parlophone. Universal will keep its Beatles rights.

Sharp (SHCAY.PK) denied rumors that it is talking with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) for a potential capital tie-up with a cash infusion of more than $383 million. Intel is looking to gain from Sharp’s small-to medium-sized LCD panel technology while Sharp would receive some much-needed cash and a consistent customer flow for its panel technology.

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AT&T Comes in Second in LTE Infrastructure and 4 Hot Stocks Attracting Investor Attention

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): President Obama’s Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, which formed for the investigation of misconduct contributing to the financial crisis, plans to take legal action soon, stated New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is a co-chair of the task force, Reuters reports.

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 has arrived, with its LTE capability, more consumers could decide to try these networks out, which may show issuse in coverage and testing the networks’ capability to deal with heavy traffic for the first time, according to the Wall Street Journal. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) have given billions to introduce new networks with fast speeds for browsing the Web on mobile phones. Although they have taken the time and effort to heavily market the technology, many don’t come close to completion.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB): A U.S. appeals court will not disturb Facebook Inc.’s $9.5 million class action settlement regarding allegations that the company’s defunct “Beacon” service violated the privacy rights of members. On Thursday, the 2-1 ruling  came from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with the one dissenting judge claiming that the settlement benefited Facebook and plaintiff attorneys unfairly.

AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) does have the second most robust LTE infrastructure countrywide, but it sill comes behind Verizon. It still seems impossible for AT&T to pass Verizon any time in the near future judging from its current position. However, AT&T launched a 4G initiative early, which uses a standard called HSPA+. As HSPA+ is much faster than 3G, it isn’tcomparable to LTE. This means that AT&T basically will have to trash all of the effort that it put into HSPA+, and it will build a brand new network using LTE technology.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) Yesterday, the company posted a blog on its site about the value and importance of its mapping applications. Nokia decided to use this post to take some jabs at Apple and Google. “Unlike our competitors, which are financing their location assets with advertising or licensing mapping content from third parties, we completely own, build and distribute mapping content, platform and apps,” the company stated in the post. “In other words, we truly understand that maps and location-based apps must be accurate, provide the best quality and be accessible basically anywhere. That’s been standard practice at Nokia for the past six years, and we also understand that ‘pretty’ isn’t enough.”

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Afternoon Buzzers: Apple Releases iPhone 5 Around the Globe, Oracle Climbs Higher

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) climbed 0.8 percent higher this afternoon to reach another new all-time high near $704. The iPhone 5 reaches stores today across the globe. Cities including Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo were among the first to get the new smartphone. Large crowds are seen across the globe and the iPhone 5 will launch in 22 more countries next week.

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) shares jumped 0.7 percent today. The company reported that first quarter earnings rose to $2.03 billion (41 cents per share), compared to $1.84 billion (36 cents per share) a year earlier. “On a non-GAAP basis, new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions sales grew 11 percent in constant currency and operating margin increased to 44 percent in Q1,” said Oracle President and CFO, Safra Catz. “Q1 operating cash flow increased to a record high of $5.7 billion. We’re off to a good start in the new year.”

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Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) shares surged 4.4 percent after reporting financial results for the first quarter. Net income increased 3.9 percent to $110.8 million (85 cents per share), compared to $106.6 million (78 cents per share) a year earlier. “We’re pleased with our very solid start to the fiscal year,” said Clarence Otis, chairman and chief executive officer of Darden. “Red Lobster’s sales held up well given the exceptional same-restaurant sales results in last year’s first quarter and its margins expanded, Olive Garden had meaningful sales and margin improvement and LongHorn Steakhouse and the Specialty Restaurant Group continued to have good sales momentum.”

Shares of KB Home (NYSE:KBH) gained 12.7 percent this morning. The homebuilder reported a profit of $3.3 million (4 cents per share) for the third quarter, compared to a new loss of $9.6 million a year earlier. Revenue also jumped 15.6 percent to $424.5 million. KB Home beat the mean analyst estimate of a loss of 15 cents per share and the average revenue estimate of $301.3 million. PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) shares also increased on the news.

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Radar Names: Apple Hits New All-Time High, AT&T Scoops Up iPhone 5 Orders

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed slightly higher on Friday after hitting a fresh all-time high of $705.07. The iPhone 5 reached stores shelves across the globe with much excitement. Cities including Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo were among the first to get the new smartphone. Large crowds were seen at Apple stores as usual and the iPhone 5 will launch in 22 more countries next week.

KB Home (NYSE:KBH) was a big winner on Wall Street. Shares of the homebuilder surged 16.4 percent on Friday. The company reported a profit of $3.3 million (4 cents per share) for the third quarter, compared to a new loss of $9.6 million a year earlier. Revenue also jumped 15.6 percent to $424.5 million. KB Home beat the mean analyst estimate of a loss of 15 cents per share and the average revenue estimate of $301.3 million. PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) shares also closed higher on the news.

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AT&T (NYSE:T) shares climbed slightly higher in late afternoon trading. comScore estimates that the company accounted for 68 percent of total U.S. online sales in the first three days of the iPhone 5’s release. The research firm explains, “As the original carrier of the iPhone and the exclusive carrier for several years, it is a safe assumption that AT&T is home to the highest share of iPhone enthusiasts. Further, owners of the iPhone 4 (which was released in June 2010) are now eligible for upgrades, providing an eager base of consumers ready and willing to purchase the iPhone 5 as soon as it was released.”

Shares of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) edged higher in late afternoon hours. According to a recent internal document distributed to top management, the financial giant plans to refocus its business strategy and cut costs, a proposal that would cut 16,000 jobs by December and end the company’s reign as U.S. banking’s largest employer.

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