Between December 18 and December 22, the stock market registered a further increase amid the Senate and House members vote on the tax bill that aims to cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and the subsequent signing of the bill by President Trump. Stocks gained ground as many companies vowed to use the additional cash gained from lower taxes to boost wages and new construction. Throughout the week investors and analysts digested the bill trying to assess the direction of the stock market in 2018, with the consensus being that even though the stocks rallied throughout this year in anticipation of the tax reform, they still have enough steam to continue the same trajectory next year. In this way, despite slightly losing ground on Friday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.28% and 0.42%, respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite increased by 0.34%.
In other news, the Congress passed a stopgap spending bill on Friday, which avoided a government shutdown and the final revision of the third-quarter GDP showed a growth of 3.2%, slightly lower than the 3.3% consensus expectations.
In the meantime, Financial Advisors kept the spotlight on several individual stocks that dominated headlines last week. According to TrackStar, InvestingChannel’s official newsletter capturing and analyzing the trends of Financial Advisors, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the most searched ticker among financial advisors last week as there were a couple of developments surrounding the company, the main of which involved revelations that Apple slowed down older iPhone models to prevent shutdowns from battery exhaustion. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was followed by General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), whose stock hit a new six-year low on Wednesday. In other news, Deutsche Bank analyst John Inch, who has a ‘Sell’ rating and $15 price target on the stock, said that the company could divest its 62.5% stake in Baker Hughes next year. Among the newcomers to TrackStar’s list of 20 most searched tickers was Dominion Energy Inc (NYSE:D), which ranked on the third spot. On December 15, Dominion Energy raised its dividend by 10% to $3.34 per share. Utilities are expected to benefit less from the new tax bill, because market regulations are likely to force them to pass the savings to consumers in form of lower bills.
The top five most searched tickers were rounded off by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX). The tech giant made headlines on Wednesday on the back of Jefferies analyst John DiFucci providing his estimates for annualized revenue from public cloud service providers, which showed that Microsoft’s Azure revenue of $21.21 billion topped Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s AWS figure of $18.34 billion. In this way, Azure dominates the cloud market with a share of 31%, compared to AWS’s share of 26%, according to DiFucci. Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) got the attention of Financial Advisors following a Bloomberg report that the miner might sign a new agreement with the Indonesian government regarding the transfer of the giant Grasberg mine to a local firm.
Let’s take a closer look at Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which ranked at the top spot of the list of most searched tickers. The main development that put Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) in Financial Advisors’ spotlight last week was the revelation that the iPhone maker downclocks the CPUs in older iPhones to prevent sudden shutdowns from battery exhaustion. Apple confirmed the reports by issuing an official statement that says that its “goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices.” The iPhone maker said that older Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands, and a feature that smooths out the peak demands in certain conditions, such as cold weather, was introduced for iPhone 6, 6S and SE last year and was extended to iPhone 7. The company plans to extend it to other products in the future.
On the following day after Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s statement, consumers started to file lawsuits, whose number reached nine by December 27. Lawsuits seek either damages or reimbursements from Apple, with one woman in California going as far as to demand almost $1.0 trillion ($999,999,999,000).
In other news, Bloomberg reported last week that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is testing a new heart rate monitor for iWatch, which would be more advanced and could be used to identify abnormalities like arrhythmia. According to another Bloomberg report, Apple plans to allow developers to design apps that would work on both iOS and macOS, with rollouts expected in early 2018. Also last week, Apple was ordered to pay $25,000 for each day it fails to produce documents related to an FTC case against Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ:QCOM), which alleges that the chipmaker forces Apple to use its chips in exchange for lower licensing fees. The fine started on December 16 and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is not part of the suit, has until December 29 to submit the requested evidence.