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US stock market daily report (January 24, 2013, Thursday)

January 25, 2013, Friday, 04:58 GMT | 23:58 EST | 09:28 IST | 11:58 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

Early afternoon on Thursday, Apple Inc. (AAPL: NASDAQ) were lower by 12% or 59 plus points after lackluster earnings report late Wednesday, set the slide for the stock, in motion. The sharp drop on Apple shares triggered a “circuit breaker” on the Nasdaq that limits short sales of a stock. For the period ended December 29, Apple reported net income of $13.1 billion or $13.81 per share, compared with net income of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per share, for the same period the previous year. Revenues rose by 18% to $54.5 billion. Apple projected a revenue range of $41 billion to $43 for the March quarter and predicted a gross margin range of 37.5%-38.5%. In a conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans,” noting that reductions in supply orders can mean several things. Cook also said that 24 carriers currently offer LTE support, with 36 more expected to come on line shortly. “Yields might very. Supplier performance can vary. The beginning inventory positions can vary. There’s just an inordinately long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on,” Cook added. Cook said the iPhone 5 was supply constrained “for much of the quarter,” and that the iPhone 4 was also in tight supply, suggesting strong demand for the lower-priced Smartphone, which is available for free with a two-year contract in the U.S. Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said in the conference call, “in recent years, our guidance reflected a conservative point estimate, or results every quarter that we have reasonable confidence in achieving. Going forward, we plan to provide a range of guidance that reflect our belief of what we are likely to achieve.” IPhone shipments of 47.8 million units came in at the low end of forecasts, though still a quarterly record for the company following the launch of the iPhone 5 in late September. Apple said it built up its inventory levels of the iPhone, to bring the device within its preferred range of 4-6 weeks of inventory. Apple said it shipped 47.8 million iPhone units for the quarter. Total iPad shipments were 22.9 million units and Mac shipments totaled 4.1 million units, while iPod shipments totaled 12.7 million units.

JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT: NASDAQ) shares were higher by 6% into mid-afternoon trading on Thursday after reporting Q4 income climbed higher by 16%. JB Hunt reported a profit of $84 million or 70 cents a share, up from $72.6 million, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier. Operating revenue reportedly rose 11% to $1.34 billion while operating margin widened to 10.7% from 10.1%. Trucking segment's revenue fell 12% though rates per mile, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 8.9%. Dedicated contract services revenue was up 9.1% and integrated capacity solutions revenue grew 30%.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000 in the week ended January 19, striking the lowest level seen since January 2008. Estimates were used for three states that did not file complete information on time, including California and Virginia. It will take several weeks of data to see if the number of people filing new claims remains at its current lows. Initial jobless claims from two weeks ago remained unrevised at 335,000. The average of new jobless claims for January fell by 8,250 to 351,750 striking the lowest level seen since March 2008. Labor Dept. said continuing claims decreased by 71,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.16 million in the week ended January 12. Nearly 5.66 million people received some type of state or federal benefit in the week ended January 5, down 214,076 from previous week.

The Conference Board reported Thursday, leading economic index rose 0.5% in December, striking the strongest result since September. The largest positive contribution in December came from fewer claims for unemployment-insurance benefits, which was among the 10 indicators tracked by the Conference Board's index. Consumers' expectations was the largest negative contribution for the index. Results for November was revised to no change from previous estimate of a 0.2% drop.