Today: Google (GOOG) continues to set records on Wall Street as it prepares for annual developers conference that may be less lively than last year. Also: Apple (AAPL) falls, pulling SV150 down despite increases from several other valley tech leaders, indexes hit new records.
More all-time highs for Google ahead of I/O launch
Google reached a new record-high intraday price for the eighth consecutive trading session Tuesday, a day ahead of its annual developers conference that could include the introduction of a new Nexus smartphone and advances for the Mountain View company's wearable Google Glass device.
Google stock reached a new all-time high of $888.69 before finishing at a record closing price of $887.10 after a 1.1 percent increase Tuesday, the latest increase in a year that has seen Google shoot more than 25 percent higher, prompting investors to ponder if the company's shares could hit four digits. While the company rides advertising in its leading search engine and YouTube digital video site to healthy increases its revenues and profits -- up 31 percent and 16 percent in the most recent quarter, respectively -- it is pursuing big ideas in its search for new avenues for growth on top of Glass, premium YouTube channels and driverless cars.
"They're taking advantage of, and really cultivating, these relatively newer businesses," Wedge Partners analyst Martin Pyykkonen told Bloomberg News after Google's most recent earnings report.
Wednesday's kickoff to the annual Google I/O developers conference is unlikely to be a launching point for important new hardware developments, however, with the company attempting to draw down expectations after last year's jaw-dropping skydiving stunt that showed off Google Glass. The 2012 keynote also included the introduction of several new hardware offerings, one of which -- the Nexus Q, an Apple TV-like streaming-media device -- was eventually shelved.
In an interview this week, Google executive Sundar Pichai downplayed the possibility that Google will shoot for the moon with new hardware announcements at this year's event. The man now in charge of both Android and Chrome told Wired that I/O is "going to be different."
"It's not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system," he explained.
The company typically uses the conference to show off a new Nexus smartphone, which the company typically uses to introduce a new version of Android, and analysts told Mercury News staff writer Brandon Bailey that the Nexus Q's successor will be an Internet television service that could get a mention, along with a possible online messaging service to rival the raft of smaller offerings in the space.
Google CEO Larry Page is unlikely to have a big speaking part at the conference as he continues to battle issues with his voice, which the company's co-founder detailed for the first time Tuesday.
"Giving long monologues is more tedious for me and probably the audience," Page wrote on Google+, in describing the vocal-cord paralysis that has caused him problems for years. He also said that he is funding "a significant research program" to help identify a cause and cure for such issues, while asking people with the same malady to contribute to a survey program.
While Google continues to find success on Wall Street and will take center stage Wednesday, the search giant continues to face difficulties overseas. Rivals balked at the antitrust deal Google is attempting to negotiate with European authorities Tuesday, while facing a concerted European effort to adopt the world's toughest data-protection laws and possible difficulties with its autocomplete search function. One bitter rival found a reason for detente with Google, however: Microsoft is giving its webmail customers the option of incorporating Gmail's instant-messaging service into its Outlook.com offering, though it is unlikely to cease Microsoft's sniping at Google.
SV150 market report: Apple takes a big dip, but Tesla and NetSuite hit record highs
Google wasn't the only Silicon Valley company hitting record highs Tuesday, and U.S. indexes joined in by again hitting hit all-time highs. The three major Wall Street indexes gained between 0.7 percent and 1 percent, with the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones again reaching their highest levels in history, but the SV150 couldn't follow suit, barely budging a bit higher as a decline from Apple offset other companies' record-setting gains.
The Cupertino tech giant, which has outsize influence on the SV150 due to its standing as the most valuable company in the world based on market capitalization, declined 2.4 percent Tuesday to close at $443.86, though there didn't seem to be any news to contribute to the fall. One analyst believes Apple has a long way to fall, however: New Constructs President David Trainer said that he believes Apple's stock price should be nearly half its current level, $240, based on its return on invested capital.
Tesla followed Google in establishing a new intraday record high, cresting at $90 a share for the first time and moving as high as $97.12, but the company's record run seemed to run out of gas, with shares closing down 5.2 percent at $83.24. The company's technology leader, JB Straubel, outlined the technology advances the company expects to include in future releases, but said the company is not working toward completely driverless cars, as a report last week suggested. Nvidia is assisting Tesla with features such as its embedded, iPad-like touchscreen device, and the Santa Clara chipmaker gained 1.5 percent as it also announced more about its personal gaming device, dubbed "Shield."
San Mateo's NetSuite also reached record levels Tuesday, moving as high as $94.78 before closing with a 2.7 percent increase at $94.62 after announcing a commerce deal with fellow Bay Area company Williams-Sonoma. Yahoo (YHOO) gained 1 percent to $26.64 and again hit its highest prices in nearly five years, with Goldman Sachs showing its belief in the company by increasing its price target to $30 as Yahoo aims for younger users. Facebook moved 0.9 percent higher to $27.07 despite doubts about its Facebook Home initiative, as a report suggested that acquisition target Waze was bucking Facebook's advances because the founders were unhappy with plans to move some employees to Silicon Valley; that could be a relief to some investors afraid of yet another $1 billion acquisition from the company. Netflix (NFLX) gained 2 percent to $233.97 and hit a new 52-week high after a report showed that the company continues to dominate Internet usage in the United States.
On the negative side, SolarCity took a big tumble after its earnings report, declining 12.4 percent to $31.44.
Up: LinkedIn, Palo Alto Networks, Workday, Gilead, Electronic Arts (ERTS), Advanced Micro Devices, Netflix, Splunk, eBay (EBAY), SunPower (SPWRA), Nvidia, Symantec, Ruckus, Google, Adobe (ADBE), Yahoo, Facebook, VMware, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Applied Materials
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 0.67, or 0.05 percent, to 1,267.24
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 23.82, or 0.69 percent, to 3,462.61
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 123.57, or 0.82 percent, to 15,215.25
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 16.57, or 1.01 percent, to 1,650.34
Also in the news: BlackBerry offerings, free Windows upgrade
BlackBerry pushes for more: At an event in Florida, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins introduced a cheaper BlackBerry smartphone for emerging markets and said the BlackBerry Messenger service would be offered on Android and iOS devices. ... Windows update will be free: Microsoft announced that its update to Windows 8, previously called "Blue," will be dubbed Windows 8.1 and offered free to Windows 8 users. ... Airline fees aren't going anywhere: Airlines returned to profitability thanks to a record $6 billion in revenues from fees for checked baggage and other services, so the fees are likely here to stay. The cash-register war begins: Two Silicon Valley companies offered new devices to take over for the cash register, with Square showing off a new offering the same day eBay's PayPal announced its own device.
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.