(Updates from 11:41 p.m. ET with closing information.)
Analyst Walter Piecyk upgraded Apple to "buy" from "neutral" and set a $540 price target, noting sentiment has gotten too negative on the name. In recent weeks, Credit Suisse, Jefferies, Barclays Capital and Citi have all cut earnings estimates, citing concerns on the iPhone, as well as the iPad.
Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller made the rounds Wednesday, speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Reuters, criticizing Google's (GOOG) Android operating system, saying it's "fragmented," just as Samsung, Apple's chief competitor, gets set to unveil its Galaxy S 4 Thursday evening. Schiller continued to disparage Android and Samsung regarding the new phone to Reuters."And that extends to the news we are hearing this week that the Samsung Galaxy S IV is being rumored to ship with an OS that is nearly a year old," Schiller said. "Customers will have to wait to get an update." Google shares were lower in Thursday trading, off 0.35% to $822.45.
Amazon (AMZN) shares fell 2.9% to $267.13 following a downgrade from JPMorgan, citing worries over gross profit. Analyst Doug Anmuth cut his rating on shares to "neutral" from "overweight" and lowered his price target to $300, as he believes there will be material deceleration in gross profit this year. Anmuth noted gross profit has become important because it is a proxy for revenue growth. In a note, Anmuth said gross profit will slow to 31% year over year as third-party sales moderate, first-party margins fall, and Amazon faces tougher comps this year. "We continue to believe that Amazon will gain share of overall eCommerce and become a much bigger company over time, but think the risk/reward at current levels is more balanced given slower unit trends and what we believe will be moderating gross profit growth going forward," Anmuth wrote.
CBS (CBS) shares rose 2.33% $47.01 as the company announced an app for Apple's iOS to stream full episodes of certain CBS shows. The CBS App is available for immediate download, and features certain shows, such as NCIS, The Good Wife, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, How I Met Your Mother, and others. Daytime and late night programming, including The David Letterman Show, will be available within 24 hours after initial airing, while prime-time shows will be available eight days after broadcast.
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