SugarApple on the Defensive

Today is the day. Samsung will release its so-called iPhone killer, the Galaxy S IV. Many experts believe that the product's new features will make it a challenge to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Some even believe it could outsell the iPhone this year. Oddly, one of Apple's top executives decided the day of the launch was a good time to deride Samsung. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal:

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller on Wednesday played down the expected competition from the device. He also discussed how he believes products that run Google Inc.'s Android software, such as Samsung's phone, are inferior to Apple's iPhone.

Mr. Schiller shared data on the iPhone's popularity and said Apple's own research shows that four times as many iPhone users switched from an Android phone than to an Android phone in the fourth quarter.

To show some guts, Schiller should have held his fire until the release of the next generation iPhone.

Modern Parenthood

American fathers have been saddled with additional domestic chores, according to Pew Research. This compares to five decades ago when they could come home from work, have a martini, read the paper and tell their children to shut up. Pew reports:

The way mothers and fathers spend their time has changed dramatically in the past half century. Dads are doing more housework and child care; moms more paid work outside the home. Neither has overtaken the other in their "traditional" realms, but their roles are converging, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of long-term data on time use.

At the same time, roughly equal shares of working mothers and fathers report in a new Pew Research Center survey feeling stressed about juggling work and family life: 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance these responsibilities.

The martini cocktail hour was never that stressful.

Volkswagen Clings to China

Volkswagen is already at the top of the auto sales food chain in China, tied most months with General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM). Despite a flattening in growth in Chinese car sales and a threat the government will curtail car use because of inflation, Volkswagen will increase production in the People's Republic. Volkswagen must also think its can increase or at least hold its market share as competition from other multinational manufacturers and local companies rises. According to Bloomberg:

Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe's largest automaker, plans to increase production 60 percent by 2018 in China, where the German company's earnings last year surged by almost half.

A new plant in China approved by the supervisory board will build as many as 300,000 vehicles yearly and will start operating in early 2016, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said today. Capacity in China will rise to 4 million vehicles a year by 2018 from about 2.5 million currently.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, featured, GM

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