(Updates from 1:04 p.m. ET with closing information.)
UBS analyst Steve Milunovich said he believes that Apple needs to go on the offensive shortly, as its margins and competitive advantage have been attacked by competitors such as Samsung and Google (GOOG). Milunovich suggests that Apple needs to up the innovation output, or move into services, something CEO Tim Cook touched on during the most recent earnings call. Milunovich rates shares "buy" with a $500 price target.
Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes raised his price target to $525 from $465, and kept his "overweight" rating on shares, saying the company, and the stock, is back on track. "With new upcoming products, we believe Apple is set to better control its story after taking several hits lately," Reitzes wrote in his report. He believes that Apple's annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be important. "We believe this annual event is significant as it indicates that new software and services will likely be announced within 2 months - and Apple's 'narrative' has a chance to improve and change the focus toward new things."
Google (GOOG) shares rose 2.64% to $861.84, hitting an all-time high, as the Internet search giant continues to see strong momentum in its products and services.
Facebook (FB) shares were off 2.48% to $27.61, despite the social networking giant reporting strong revenue last week. Facebook earned 12 cents a share on $1.458 billion, a year-over-year increase of 38%, led by strength in mobile advertising, which accounted for 30% of total advertising revenue. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm was expected to earn 13 cents on a non-GAAP basis, with revenue coming in at $1.44 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Groupon (GRPN) shares were off 5.14% to $5.54 ahead of earnings later this week. The Chicago-based e-commerce company, which fired Andrew Mason earlier this year as its CEO, is set to report earnings after the close of trading on May 8. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect the company to earn 3 cents a share on $590 million. In the year-ago quarter, Groupon earned 2 cents a share on $559.28 million in sales.
Closing prices: AAPL closed 2.4% higher at $460.71, FB fell 2.6% to $27.57, GOOG jumped 15.8% to $861.55 and GRPN dropped 6.5% to end the day at $5.46. --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia
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