NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple (AAPL) are slipping, down 1.03% to $124.51 in early market trading Wednesday, as U.S. antitrust regulators examine the iPhone maker's efforts to line up deals with record labels ahead of its newest Beats Music streaming service relaunch, according to Bloomberg.
The Federal Trade Commission is questioning whether Apple is putting rival music services at a disadvantage, Bloomberg added.
The tech giant has reportedly approached more than a dozen artists to secure exclusive rights to music for its new service, Bloomberg noted.
In addition, the company announced a seven-part U.S. dollar benchmark bond to fund the repurchase of stocks and dividends this morning, Reuters reports.
Apple designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, as well as a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and applications.
The company is based in Cupertino, Calif.
Insight from TheStreet's Research Team:
Apple is a core holding of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. In a recent alert, here is a snippet of what Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager & Jack Mohr, Director of Research - Action Alerts PLUS had to say about the stock:
Apple (AAPL:Nasdaq; $128.95; 820 shares; 4.05%; Sector: Technology): The shares fell this week despite reporting record fiscal second-quarter results that once again exceeded heightened expectations. In the face of continued foreign-exchange headwinds, revenue grew 27%, year over year, to $58 billion, beating consensus by $2.1 billion, while gross margins of 40.8% came in 130 basis points ahead of expectations.
We see three key takeaways from its earnings call: 1) The company delivered huge results in China, which accounted for nearly 30% of sales in the quarter. Apple continues to take share from competition in the region (growing revenue over 70% y/y for the second consecutive quarter), a trend that we believe reflects a change in consumer preference across the country given that local handset vendors such as Huawei and Lenovo price their devices at nearly half the price of Apple's products; 2) We are impressed by the record performance of the margin-rich services business; 3) Finally, the company's massive increase in its capital return program is notable, going to $200 billion from $130 billion. Apple shares are currently cheap, trading at 12.5x 2015 EPS estimates ex-cash.
With a stable gross margin outlook, the ongoing iPhone 6 product cycle, strong momentum in emerging markets and substantial share repurchases, we believe Apple is well positioned to continue beating expectations. We reiterate our $150 target.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."
You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report