Apple Roundup: Wearables Lead, EU Tax, Healthcare, Trump Tariffs

Apple AAPL topped the wearables market for the first time, and it seems to be a replay of what it did in smartphones.

Apple Leads in Wearable Devices

The device category that Fitbit FIT pioneered is rapidly changing character as consumer tastes move from basic bands to smartwatches offering greater functionality and cellular connectivity. That's the market that Apple has latched onto so well to become the leading player with fourth quarter unit shipments of 8 million, market share of 21% and representing growth of 57.5%, according to IDC.

Despite its purchase of smartwatch maker Pebble and the subsequent launch of its Ionic smartwatch, Fitbit has been pushed to second place with 5.4 million units, which is 14.2% of the market and represents a 17.3% decline from last year. Xiaomi, Garmin GRMN and Huawei follow with 13%, 6.5% and 4.3% market share, respectively. Huawei saw the strongest growth of 93.2% in the last quarter.

Other News--

  • EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told CNBC that the European Commission will withdraw its complaint against Ireland for not recovering 13 billion euros ($16 billion) in unpaid taxes from Apple if it recovers the full amount. Considering the complex process, she has offered to overlook the considerable delay in recovery. Irish authorities have said that their calculations thus far are close to the commission's 13 billion euro figure.
  • Apple could be taking baby steps in healthcare with its new subsidiary AC Wellness Network, LLC, first spotted by CNBC, which has the stated mission of delivering "the world's best healthcare experiences for Apple employees." On the face of it, Apple is adding to its corporate responsibilities by ensuring that its employees stay healthy. But it's worth noting that the Cupertino-based company sells a smartwatch that's expert at tracking healthcare metrics, as well as a very useful Health app. Last January, it introduced a new feature into the app that allows users to check their medical records on their iPhones. Tech peer Alphabet GOOGL has made more public moves into healthcare with its startups. Recently, Amazon AMZN has done likewise through its collaboration with leading banks. So it's not too much of a stretch to think that Apple would also be in the fray.
  • President Trump has proposed a 25% tariff on imported raw steel and 10% tariff on imported raw aluminum that is broadly expected to increase the price of many products that use these materials for packaging or otherwise. While a number of Apple products use Aluminum, it won't be affected. As Gene Munster of Loup Ventures says, "The only thing they make in the U.S. right now is the high-end Mac Pro," which probably accounts for about 1% of sales. So even if the cost of producing that 1% goes up 10%, there will hardly be any impact on Apple's profits.

Apple shares carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). But you can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All

Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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