As Microsoft (MSFT) Valuation Rose, Shareholder Gruss & Co Cut Its Position by $3.71 Million; As …

… 04/04/2018 – MICROSOFT CORP: MICROSOFT WILL INVEST $5B IN IOT; 06/03/2018 – InsideSales.com Announces Next-Gen Al Technology for …

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Gruss & Co Inc decreased its stake in Microsoft Corp (MSFT) by 39.57% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Gruss & Co Inc sold 27,900 shares as the company’s stock rose 6.56% . The institutional investor held 42,600 shares of the prepackaged software company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $5.71 million, down from 70,500 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Gruss & Co Inc who had been investing in Microsoft Corp for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $ market cap company. The stock increased 0.03% or $0.04 during the last trading session, reaching $136.12. About 23.56 million shares traded. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has risen 29.33% since September 12, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 29.33% the S&P500. Some Historical MSFT News: 19/03/2018 – This former Microsoft and General Motors executive is now the deputy to the White House Chief of Staff; 26/04/2018 – MICROSOFT QTRLY REVENUE WAS $26.8 BLN AND INCREASED 16%; 04/04/2018 – VMware Announces New Worldwide Channel Chief; 04/04/2018 – MICROSOFT CORP: MICROSOFT WILL INVEST $5B IN IOT; 06/03/2018 – InsideSales.com Announces Next-Gen Al Technology for Sales; 08/05/2018 – Red Hat and Microsoft Co-Develop the First Red Hat OpenShift Jointly Managed Service on a Public Cloud; 21/03/2018 – Terrestrial Energy Receives Industry Innovation Award; 13/04/2018 – Microsoft auditing partner KPMG’s anti-piracy work in India after complaint -documents; 12/04/2018 – OleumTech® Introduces New General Purpose Wireless Sensor Network Platform for Non-Hazardous Locations; 07/05/2018 – Biogen Celebrates 40 Years as a Pioneer in Neuroscience

Aviance Capital Partners Llc decreased its stake in Apple Inc. (AAPL) by 37.23% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Aviance Capital Partners Llc sold 80,471 shares as the company’s stock rose 1.20% . The institutional investor held 135,657 shares of the computer manufacturing company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $26.85 million, down from 216,128 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Aviance Capital Partners Llc who had been investing in Apple Inc. for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $ market cap company. The stock increased 3.18% or $6.89 during the last trading session, reaching $223.59. About 44.29M shares traded or 72.01% up from the average. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has risen 12.18% since September 12, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 12.18% the S&P500. Some Historical AAPL News: 26/04/2018 – Apple, Facebook and Snap have said that augmented reality is a top priority; 26/04/2018 – Apple Inc. vs Papst Licensing GmbH & Co. KG | FWD Entered | 04/25/2018; 14/05/2018 – TIAA-CREF Adds Aptiv, Exits Baidu, Cuts Apple: 13F; 16/04/2018 – Fudzilla: Apple won’t do 5G in 2019; 02/05/2018 – The iPhone X was the most popular iPhone sold every week of Apple’s most recent quarter, Tim Cook told CNBC’s Jim Cramer; 23/05/2018 – Pay for anything, anywhere without a QR code, Apple Pay or Starbucks app #disruptor50; 02/04/2018 – Facebook and Apple’s CEOs are exchanging barbs, but they’re clearly dependent on each other; 11/04/2018 – T-MOBILE USA INTRODUCING APPLE CHAT FOR IPHONE ON T-MOBILE; 07/05/2018 – Dealbook: Countdown to $1 Trillion Is Back On for Apple: DealBook Briefing; 10/05/2018 – APPLE CONFIRMS DECISION TO PULL OUT OF IRISH DATA CENTER PLAN

Investors sentiment decreased to 0.77 in Q2 2019. Its down 0.14, from 0.91 in 2019Q1. It turned negative, as 47 investors sold MSFT shares while 999 reduced holdings. 139 funds opened positions while 664 raised stakes. 5.28 billion shares or 2.38% less from 5.41 billion shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Holt Capital Advisors Limited Liability Dba Holt Capital Limited Partnership holds 0.08% of its portfolio in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for 2,177 shares. Oak Ridge Investments Lc reported 3.29% stake. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Mngmt Ltd Liability Company has 0.02% invested in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Atwood And Palmer has 6,981 shares. First Bank & Trust Sioux Falls has invested 4.72% in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Nomura Incorporated stated it has 758,269 shares. Fosun stated it has 26,230 shares. 150,721 were accumulated by Baltimore. American Research & Management reported 1.21% in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Eastern Bank & Trust stated it has 3.6% in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Capital Interest Investors holds 94.79M shares. Channing Cap Limited Liability Company has invested 0.32% in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Bb&T Securities holds 1.30M shares. Supplemental Annuity Collective Trust Of Nj invested in 4.35% or 74,000 shares. Leuthold Group Limited Liability holds 97,952 shares or 1.69% of its portfolio.

More notable recent Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) news were published by: Nasdaq.com which released: “Noteworthy Thursday Option Activity: GS, COST, MSFT – Nasdaq” on August 15, 2019, also Nasdaq.com with their article: “Microsoft (MSFT) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue? – Nasdaq” published on June 20, 2019, Nasdaq.com published: “Technology Sector Update for 09/11/2019: ZS, DPW, MAXR, MSFT, AAPL, IBM, CSCO, GOOG – Nasdaq” on September 11, 2019. More interesting news about Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) were released by: Nasdaq.com and their article: “3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy: MSFT, UPS and PANW – Nasdaq” published on September 06, 2019 as well as Nasdaq.com‘s news article titled: “Microsoft (MSFT) 3rd Quarter Earnings: What to Expect – Nasdaq” with publication date: April 24, 2019.

Gruss & Co Inc, which manages about $92.36M US Long portfolio, upped its stake in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) by 3,400 shares to 7,000 shares, valued at $1.35M in 2019Q2, according to the filing.

Analysts await Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to report earnings on October, 23. They expect $1.24 earnings per share, up 8.77% or $0.10 from last year’s $1.14 per share. After $1.37 actual earnings per share reported by Microsoft Corporation for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -9.49% negative EPS growth.

More notable recent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) news were published by: Seekingalpha.com which released: “Q4 App Store growth outperforming – Morgan Stanley – Seeking Alpha” on September 06, 2019, also Nasdaq.com with their article: “Technology Sector Update for 08/21/2019: LEDS, VIOT, ADI, MSFT, AAPL, IBM, CSCO, GOOG – Nasdaq” published on August 21, 2019, Nasdaq.com published: “Friday Apple Rumors: 2019 iPhone Line May Include Ultra Wide Band Tech – Nasdaq” on September 06, 2019. More interesting news about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were released by: Seekingalpha.com and their article: “Apple bear cuts target on cycle weakness – Seeking Alpha” published on September 10, 2019 as well as Seekingalpha.com‘s news article titled: “The Apple Card: It ‘Just Works’ – Seeking Alpha” with publication date: September 09, 2019.

Analysts await Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to report earnings on November, 7. They expect $2.83 earnings per share, down 2.75% or $0.08 from last year’s $2.91 per share. After $2.18 actual earnings per share reported by Apple Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts 29.82% EPS growth.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Institutional Positions Chart

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Apple Pay to venture into cryptocurrencies?

Vice president of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey, stated that Apple Pay was monitoring cryptocurrencies. He said that the company considered them as …

Vice president of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey, stated that Apple Pay was monitoring cryptocurrencies. He said that the company considered them as “interesting” as they had “long-term potential.”

Facebook‘s Libra has caused a commotion that even the slightest hint about virtual currencies by tech giants is enough to start a heated argument. Due to this, many remain silent about such matters.

However, Apple Pay chose to disclose its interest in the sector as a senior executive talked about the company’s interest in the matter. Jennifer stated that the company was not yet ready to invest in the sector but was keeping a keen eye on the topic.

Although the company’s involvement with cryptocurrencies is still undecided, this might stimulate the crypto markets. Apple is a huge company that has an excellent reputation in both the tech sector as well as the financial market. If the company ever decides to enter the crypto markets, it would be a huge leap both for Apple and cryptocurrencies as a whole.

Apple has been improving its financial network, and hence, a move into crypto almost comes naturally. Last month Apple announced the launch of its Apple Card that will come built-in its signature mobile device. Integrated into iPhone’s Apple Wallet app, the credit card is the company’s attempt at increasing the adoption for Apple Pay.

Apple Pay looking for further adoption

Apple Pay has had less success in the US compared to the United Kingdom and Australia. According to Jennifer payment acceptance with the US’ merchants has been seventy percent. Meanwhile, contactless payment acceptance is eighty-five and ninety-nine percent in UK and Australia, respectively.

However, Apple’s entry into the crypto sector will likely receive high criticism similar to Facebook and Google.

Although the entry of such firms into the crypto sphere increases its adoption, people believe that its negative impact is far more significant than its positive influence. People think that such involvements reduce the privacy provided by blockchain networks and hence risk user data.

Previously, Facebook has been accused of compromising user data while Google too can face government scrutiny.

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I’m not impressed with the Apple Card cash-back reward. Here’s why.

Please, don’t fall for the hype about credit cards that give you cash back. The psychology behind this perk is all about getting you to spend more …

■ Customers will receive 2 percent back every time they use Apple Card with the company’s mobile wallet, Apple Pay.

■ Card carriers get 3 percent cash back if they use the card for purchases made directly with Apple — including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store, and for Apple services.

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■ Apple recently announced that card users would also receive 3 percent cash back when they use the Apple credit card with Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats.

■ For purchases made with the physical titanium card, customers will get 1 percent back.

Getting cash back seems like a win/win situation for credit issuers and consumers.

Lenders get money from merchants when consumers use their cards (although many businesses are passing along the processing fee either directly or in higher prices). And if a cardholder doesn’t pay off the bill in full, the card issuer collects interest. The variable interest rates on the Apple Card as of Aug. 2 ranged from 12.99 percent to 23.99 percent, according to the company.

Consumers love cash-back offers, boasting that they get free money for purchases they had planned to make anyway. I’ll concede that you may be actually getting a reward if your charges are for necessities. But are they?

Cash back is the most popular type of rewards credit card, with 49 percent of US adults carrying at least one such card, according to a recent CreditCards.com report.

But let me burst your cash-back bubble.

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If you spend $1,299 on a 13-inch MacBook Pro at the Apple store using the new Apple Card, you get $38.97 back. If you need the computer, that’s a decent bonus.

But wait. You aren’t ahead financially if your purchase is more of a want than a need. If you’re upgrading your perfectly performing iPhone 8 to the new iPhone XS Max model, which has a retail price of $1,099, yes, you’ll get $32.97 back. However, you’ve spent $1,099 on something that wasn’t a necessity.

Apple wins.

You lose.

You could have used the money to boost your emergency fund or reduce what you owe on your student loans.

What if you invested the money instead?

For instance, you could take the $1,099 and invest it in a low-cost growth index fund. Instead of charging things on your Apple Card, you could invest the value of those purchases — let’s say $5,000 each year — in an index fund. If the fund ended up with an annual rate return of 6 percent after 10 years you could have $68,213.43, assuming all of your annual investments happen at the beginning of the year, according to the investment returns calculator at Bankrate.com.

Minus your invested capital, you’ve earned $17,114.43 (after a tax rate of 15 percent). Contrast this with cash back of $1,038.97 over 10 years from the computer you bought along with other purchases you made with the card through Apple Pay, earning 2 percent back.

Of course, investing means putting your money at risk. But based on past stock market performance, you’ll get more return for your money from the stock market. Let’s say you invest in an index fund that seeks to track the investment performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, an unmanaged benchmark representing the 500 largest US publicly traded companies. In the past 10 years, the S&P 500 has had a total return of 11.20 percent, according to the investment research firm Morningstar.

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And need I remind you that the cash-back feature is a fool’s errand if you don’t pay your credit card off every month? According to the Federal Reserve in 2016, half of families with credit card debt had at least $2,300 of credit card debt carrying over month-to-month, while on average families with credit card debt had $5,700 of debt.

The average credit-card rate ranges from about 18 percent for people with good credit to about 25 percent for consumers with a lesser credit history, according to Ted Rossman, an industry analyst for Creditcards.com

“It doesn’t make sense to pay these high rates in exchange for 1 percent, 2 percent, or 3 percent in cash back, airline miles or hotel points,” Rossman said. “If you have credit-card debt, you need to forget about rewards and prioritize your interest rate.”

Is a cash-back credit card worth it?

For many people, it’s not. You might be overspending to get the reward. Or, the money you think you’re earning won’t come close to the cash you’ll pay out if you don’t pay your card off every month.

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In the credit-card industry, nothing is really free.


Michelle Singletary can be reached at michelle.singletary@washpost.com.

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Cryptocurrency on iPhone? Apple Could Solve One of Its Biggest Problems

The bitcoin white paper, published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, laid the foundations for a new form of peer-to-peer electronic money. The paper …

Is cryptocurrency coming to the iPhone? While Apple’s smartphone supports apps that provide access to wallets and exchanges, recent comments from an executive have suggested the company could offer deeper integration.

“We’re watching cryptocurrency,” Jennifer Bailey, vice president of the company’s contactless payment system Apple Pay, told CNN in a story published Thursday. “We think it’s interesting. We think it has interesting long-term potential.”

Apple has started developing deeper integration for payments on its platforms, starting in 2014 when it launched Apple Pay in the United States. Bailey noted that at the time of launch, just three percent of American stores accepted contactless payments. Today, that figure rests at around 70 percent.

Beyond helping to drive adoption through widespread advertising and high brand recognition, Apple also changed mobile payments through another of its well-known talents. Apple Pay is simple, integrated deep between hardware and software, enabling users to make payments using the provided fingerprint scanner and a wave of their phone. User experience is a key focus of the company, from its “three steps to get online” iMac ads from 2001 to the iPhone’s multi-touch interface that ditched complex smartphone buttons.

This combination of strong brand recognition and straightforward user experiences is why Apple watching cryptocurrency could mean big things for the space.

The iPhone offers a straightforward payment platform.
The iPhone offers a straightforward payment platform.

iPhone and Cryptocurrency: A Match Made in Heaven?

The bitcoin white paper, published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, laid the foundations for a new form of peer-to-peer electronic money. The paper described how a complex network of computers could add transactions to a “blockchain” and create a decentralized currency.

The paper was relatively thin, however, on how to make this new system as seamless and user-friendly as possible. Third-party exchanges and wallets aimed to fill in the gaps to varying successes. During the December 2017 surge in bitcoin’s price, user-friendly wallet and exchange Coinbase reported around 12 million users.

Despite these highs, cryptocurrency can be difficult to use. Apple Pay is seamless enough that London Underground users can use it to open the barriers in a split second during their morning commute. Spending cryptocurrency in stores tends to involve scanning a QR code with a smartphone and hoping for the best.

Two British travelers that spoke to Inverse in April 2018 expressed frustration at trying to find somewhere to spend bitcoin, finding just one ATM during a six-month tour of the United States. Inverse’s hands-on trial in November 2018 of the pub BrewDog London’s bitcoin payment process ended in frustration due to conflicting technology standards. Other visitors to the same pub also expressed frustration, with one describing the process as “a bit clunky.” Industry figures have recognized the need to make cryptocurrency easier to use.

“As an industry, we need to bridge the gap between the early adopters and their needs and the majority mainstream audience,” Micah Winkelspecht, founder and CEO of blockchain startup Gem, said in an April 2018 statement. “We need to deliver a better user experience.”

In June 2019, Facebook made a big move to try and fix these issues. Libra, the name for the company’s proposed alternative cryptocurrency, is expected to collaborate with existing financial systems to draw on their expertise. Perhaps most important of all is its integration with Facebook’s apps, offering a simple experience through an interface familiar to billions of people.

Libra's list of partners.
Libra’s list of partners.

Apple could help expand on this further. Beyond Apple Pay, the company has broadened its payment offerings with peer-to-peer money transfer system Apple Cash, where users can send each other money through the iPhone’s built-in apps. This year the company launched Apple Card, a credit card that easily tracks payments and breaks down spending by category.

“We designed Apple Card and we designed Apple Pay to be more secure and more private than anything that’s available today,” Bailey said.

Bailey notes that adoption is only set to increase from here. A number of transit systems in the United States are expected to move to mobile in the next two to four years, which Bailey describes as a “snowball effect.”

“When [customers] start using mobile payments and Apple Pay, they stop carrying cash,” Bailey said, noting that tipping is a key area where contactless payments could require more work.

As Apple seeks to expand its payments products out further, the company could bring its user experience talents to the cryptocurrency space.

The author of this story holds a stake in bitcoin and Ethereum.

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Apple thinks cryptocurrency has “long-term potential”

Could bitcoin become part of our payments future? Apple seems to think so. In a recent conversation with CNN Business, Jennifer Bailey, vice …

Could bitcoin become part of our payments future? Apple seems to think so.

In a recent conversation with CNN Business, Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, revealed the company’s awareness of—and perhaps optimism about—the crypto markets.

“We’re watching cryptocurrency,” Bailey said. “We think it’s interesting. We think it has interesting long-term potential.”

Although brief, her commentary offered a glimpse into how the tech giant is approaching bitcoin and the broader crypto market— that is, with an open mind. Today, Apple’s market capitalization is more than five times larger than that of bitcoin (which stands at $188 billion).

Admittedly, it’s hard to discern much from Bailey’s crypto musings. Her phrase—”interesting long-term potential”—leaves the door open for Apple to dabble in crypto itself, or to slam it shut later on.

If Apple does pursue a crypto wallet for the iPhone though, it won’t be the first phone manufacturer to market. HTC’s Exodus 1 already comes packaged with a “secure enclave” meant to keep your crypto holdings separate from other apps on the device, and this week, Samsung launched a blockchain-enabled smartphone (paywall). Samsung’s device is essentially the Galaxy Note 10 with some crypto-cobranding, courtesy of Klaytn, a South Korean blockchain platform. Apple recently launched its own credit card, backed by Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, which primarily exists within the Apple Pay wallet of the owner’s iPhone.

Apple’s reticence probably indicates the company would support existing cryptocurrencies as opposed to creating its own, like Facebook is attempting to do with Libra. It’s done similarly on other standards, such as the communication tech behind Apple Pay, and the wireless-charging standard its newer iPhones use.

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