Explaining Southern California's economy

Qualcomm beats Wall Street earnings expectations

2012 Consumer Electronics Show Showcases Latest Technology Innovations

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

CEO Paul E. Jacobs of Qualcomm delivers a keynote address at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. The San Diego company pleased Wall Street with its most recent earnings.

Qualcomm beat what the Street had anticipated, while bringing more than $6 billion in revenue in its first fiscal quarter. 

That was a nearly 30 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. And of that, profit was $2.2 billion, which worked out to $1.26 per share, a figure that delighted analysts who had expected less.

The good numbers pushed the company’s stock immediately higher in after-hours trading on the Nasdaq exchange. 

This contrasts with Canada’s Research in Motion, whose new BlackBerry smartphones are powered by Qualcomm processors. RIM changed its name to “BlackBerry,” but the new edition devices haven’t (yet) reversed its fortunes. Its stock dipped as Qualcomm’s rose.

Qualcomm told investors to expect continued good results in 2013 — in the lexicon of finance, it upgraded its "guidance" — as the company rolls out new chips and benefits from more consumers upgrading to smartphones, especially in developing world markets like China.

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FAQ: Why today's Apple earnings aren't the most important the company has ever reported

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Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday. Will they be strong enough to halt a stock price slide that began last year?

There's so much fretting around Apple right now that analysts, commenters, and Apple-ologists are calling today's quarterly financial results that'll hit after the markets close the mother of all earnings reports (Forbes is explicitly calling it that).

Why the high anxiety about the world's most valuable publicly traded company — and the most valuable California company by a substantial margin (Apple: $418 billion market cap; number two Google: $254 billion)? Simple: Analysts suspect that Apple's epic comeback story, from near bankruptcy to a mature company that's printing money with its monumental profit margins, is over. Nothing gold can stay, to borrow a line from a rustic American poet who never would have dreamed of an Age of iPhones but who would probably have been retroactively credited by Apple for his efforts to "Think different."

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BlackBerry Friday? Research in Motion is surging in post-Thanksgiving trading

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DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

Don't write this company off just yet. As BlackBerry maker Research in Motion nears the release of BlackBerry 10 and new phones, the stock is getting some respect.

It would difficult to find a better example of near-total meltdown in the tech economy that Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the once-iconic but now nearly irrelevant BlackBerry smartphone. The stock traded at nearly $150 a share at its peak in 2008. 

It's now barely above $11.

But that in itself is the story this Black Friday as all of Canada rejoices! Well, maybe not. But RIM is showing its first signs of life in months, up a whopping 13-plus percent in trading Friday.

What's driving this is growing optimism that the company's new BlackBerry 10 operating system and and new lineup of touchscreen phones (better than some of its previous, much-derided touchscreen phones) will enable the company to get back into the smartphone wars, duking it out with Apple and Samsung to retake some of its lost market share.

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Reportings: Money for Mitt, rich butlers, BlackBerry 10, Social Security is solvent

US-VOTE-2012-REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in the rain during a rally in Newport News, Virginia. He's trying to rake in Wall Street money, with just a few weeks left until the election.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan go in seach of Wall Street money, with cocktails and photo ops at a Hilton in New York: "[A] batch of hedge fund and private equity bigwigs show up on the list, underscoring the broad and deep backing that Mr. Romney is receiving from the upper echelons of Wall Street." (DealBook)

 

Make more stuff, people! Retail sales in September beat expectations: "[D]ata show that 'consumers are out in force, buying everything that isn’t nailed down.'" (LATimes)

 

How not to make money: "Endowments and foundations had the worst returns of any class of institutional investor in the year through June, gaining 0.37 percent." (Bloomberg)

 

A venture capital goes to the Interwebs for a new brand identity — and doesn't do it on spec: "[E]veryone creating new work for this project will be compensated — not just the one winner who will carry out our complete brand identity." (USV)

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Apple acquisition of AuthenTec makes a lot of sense

Customers test new IPad, on April 4, 201

JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Customers test the IPad. Apple devices may soon be able to recognize these fingers by their fingerprints.

Apple has a huge hoard of cash: $117 billion at last count. It's going to pay out a dividend to share some of the wealth with stockholders, but it's also going to make acquisitions. Except that Apple doesn't really have a long track record of making acquisitions. It's been content to innovate and grow on its own, rather than to go out shopping for innovation and growth.

But the announcement today that it will buy AuthenTec, a company that's focused on making mobile devices more secure, for $356 million should please Apple's investors and fans — as well as future customers. AuthenTec has developed a fingerprint-recognition technology that sounds like it maps perfectly to the touchscreen age. You use your fingers to manage the interface on iPhones and iPads, so it why shouldn't Apple's mobile security protocols be finger(print) based, as well?

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