Despite the weekend's uptick in online shopping, shares of eBay fell Monday after analyst firm Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the company amid valuation concerns. Stifel analyst Jordan Rohan changed his eBay rating from buy to hold, citing lack of upward earnings momentum and competition from the free shipping offered by the likes of Amazon. The analyst also voiced his concern about margins in eBay's PayPal business. eBay's stock closed down 30 cents, or 1%, at $29.61 at the end of play on Friday.
The rumor mill surrounding a Google acquisition of Groupon went into overdrive this week with talk of a possible $6 billion deal -- Google's largest, ever. But after chatter pushed Google shares down Tuesday, a news site affiliated with the Chicago Tribune reported that Groupon rejected the offer, preferring instead to stay independent and mull an IPO. Also circulating around Google was the European Commission's decision to open an investigation into allegations that Google has been abusing its dominant position in online search. The move comes after a preliminary probe launched earlier this year following complaints from three European Internet companies. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, confirmed Tuesday that it will investigate whether Google lowered the ranking of unpaid search results of competing services. Google's shares nonetheless closed up $1.18, or 0.21%, at $573 on Friday.
Verizon ( VZ) is set to launch its long-anticipated 4G wireless network Sunday. Billing it as "the world's largest" LTE network, Verizon will offer the faster service in 38 U.S. cities. Subscribers will be sold $99 wireless modems to connect to a data-only network that Verizon says is up to 10 times the speed of its 3G service. Verizon shares closed up 16 cents, or 0.49%, at $32.90 on Friday.
Analyst firm Pacific Crest raised its Apple ( AAPL) estimates during the week, as tech watchers get set for the introduction of both a Verizon iPhone and the iPhone 5. "The likely launch of a CDMA iPhone on Verizon in Q2 prompts us to raise our second-quarter iPhone unit estimate to 15.2 million from 12.0 million," said analyst Andy Hargreaves in a note Friday. The analyst firm, which expects to see a Verizon iPhone prior to the end of March, also raised its full year iPhone estimate from 54.1 million units to 59.9 million units. Apple's stock closed down 71 cents, or 0.22%, at $317.44 on Friday. --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org