U.S. stocks closed flat on Wednesday, as investors weighed corporate earnings and tensions between Russia and Ukraine. After the closing bell, Sprint shares continued to fall after the company ended its bid to acquire T-Mobile. Meanwhile, shares of Apple edged lower after a report said China excluded Apple products from government purchases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 13.87 points or 0.08 percent, to close at 16,443.34. The S&P 500 edged up 0.03 points or 0.00 percent, to end at 1,920.24. The Nasdaq Composite rose 2.22 points or 0.05 percent, to finish at 4,355.05.
Sprint Shares Plunge After Company Ends Bid to Buy T-Mobile
Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S) shares tumbled over 18 percent on Wednesday to close at $5.90 a share after the company announced it was ending its bid to acquire rival T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE:TMUS). In addition, Sprint, the third largest U.S. mobile carrier, named Marcelo Claure as the company’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective August 11. He will replace Dan Hesse who has been chief executive of Sprint since 2007.
Shares of T-Mobile, the fourth largest U.S. carrier, dropped 8.40 percent to close at $31.06 on Wednesday.
Claure, 43, joined the Sprint Board of Directors in January and is the Founder and CEO of Brightstar Corp., a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. Sprint said Claure will resign his position at Brightstar effective August 11 and SoftBank announced it would acquire Claure’s remaining interest in the Company.
Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile carrier, posted stronger-than-expected fiscal 2014 first-quarter revenue on July 30 and reported a profit of $23 million, or 1 cent a share, on revenue of $8.8 billion, compared with a loss of $1.6 billion, or 53 cents a share, on revenue of $8.9 billion a year earlier. The company expects adjusted earnings to be between $6.7 billion and $6.9 billion for 2014.
The Sprint platform issued a net loss of 220,000 customers in the quarter, compared to a net loss of 383,000 customers last quarter and 520,000 customers in the prior year period. The company said postpaid net losses of 181,000 during the quarter were “largely due to expected elevated churn levels related to service disruption associated with the company’s ongoing network overhaul.”
T-Mobile also posted earnings last week that showed the company had another strong growth quarter as it issued a profit and topped Wall Street expectations. The company reported fiscal 2014 second-quarter net income of $391 million, or 48 cents share, compared with a loss of $54 million, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 15.4 percent year-over-year to $7.2 billion.
The company added 1.5 million total net customer additions in the quarter, including branded postpaid net additions of 908,000 and branded prepaid net additions of 102,000. For 2014, T-Mobile expects adjusted earnings to be in the range of $5.6 to $5.8 billion. Branded postpaid net additions for 2014 is expected to be between 3.0 and 3.5 million, up from the company’s prior guidance of 2.8 to 3.3 million.
Sprint’s decision wo withdraw its offer to buy T-Mobile comes just after Iliad SA (EPA:ILD), a French telecommunications company, made a surprise offer and bid $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile at $33 per share, it said in a statement last week.
“In contemplating a possible transaction with T-Mobile US, Iliad will ensure strict financial discipline and value creation for all Iliad shareholders,” the company said in a press release. “This transaction should not raise any antitrust issue in light of the competition rules given that Iliad is not present in the United States.”
In after-hours trading, shares of Sprint edged up 0.68 percent on Wednesday to $5.90 as T-Mobile stock rose 0.61 percent to $31.25.
China Bans Apple Products From Government Purchases: Report
The partnership between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) might hit a snag on news China’s government excluded Apple products, such as iPads and iPad Minis, from the list of products used by the central and local government because of “security concerns,” Bloomberg reported.
Shares of Apple edged down 0.17 percent on Wednesday to close at $94.96 while IBM stock fell 0.02 percent to $185.97.
The tech giant announced a strategic relationship with IBM in June to “to transform enterprise mobility.” IBM said it would create a class of more than 100 enterprise solutions, including native apps, developed exclusively for iPhones and iPads to run on Apple's iOS platform. In return, IBM will sell Apple's products with 100 industry-specific apps to its business clients worldwide.
China’s move against Apple could mean problems for IBM as the company seeks potential corporate customers to grow its mobile business.
“When we look at our Company performance on a geographic basis, we are especially proud of our very strong results in Greater China where we established an all-time quarterly revenue record of almost $10 billion including the results from our retail stores,” Time Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.
The company said it sold 35.2 million iPhones in the quarter, up nearly 13 percent, but just below analysts' projections for sales of 35.9 million. Apple sold 4.4 million Macs during the period, up 18 percent from the year-ago period, as iPad sales fell to 13.3 million.
“The addition of China Mobile, coupled with great response to our more affordably priced iPhone 4s led to an all-time quarterly record for iPhone sales in Greater China. We look forward to broadening our relationship with China Mobile, as they expand points-of-sale and continue to build out their 4G network,” Luca Maestri, vice president and corporate controller, said during the earnings call.
For the current quarter, Apple expects revenue between $37 billion and $40 billion, compared with analysts’ expectations for $40.6 billion.
In after-hours trading, shares of Apple fell 0.03 percent on Wednesday to $94.93 as IBM stock edged up 0.41 percent to $186.74.