Today: Apple (AAPL) slides 2 percent after a ban on a Samsung smartphone is reversed on appeal, reversing Wall Street's gains from a strong jobs report. Also: Four stocks debut on Wall Street with a bang, with a Silicon Valley software company to follow on Friday.
Apple's fall, strong jobs report counteract on Wall Street
Apple shares dove Thursday after a court overturned a ban on a Samsung smartphone, erasing early gains on Wall Street stemming from positive news on the U.S. labor market.
The Cupertino tech giant's stock was up 1 percent on the day until the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals overturned a preliminary injunction that had barred Samsung from selling its Galaxy Nexus phone in the United States; shares plummeted to a daily decline of 2 percent after the news hit.
Judge Lucky Koh in San Jose set the ban in the second of two lawsuits between the tech titans set in Silicon Valley; the first lawsuit ended with a $1 billion verdict in Apple's favor.
While the ruling does not match Apple's victory for importance, Santa Clara law school professor Colleen Chien believes it could lessen chances for future bans in the patent battle, and may signal a better chance for the Samsung's appeal of the earlier case.
"The Federal Circuit has said, 'Wait a minute,'" Chien told Reuters.
Apple broke a string of four straight days of Wall Street losses on Wednesday, but the stock has been trending down since the release of its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, late last month. As investors and analysts have fretted about production delays on the phone possibly harming sales numbers, Apple stock has declined 10.4 percent since the end of trading on the phone's launch day.
Apple is still the most valuable company in the United States, and its leading market cap means dips in its stock price have an oversized effect on the indexes that include it. Two of the three major U.S. stock indexes -- the tech-heavy Nasdaq and broad-based Standard & Poor's 500 -- include Apple, and both treaded water Thursday because of Apple's decline.
Losses would have been larger if not for an early surge in the indexes brought about by a drop in applications for unemployment benefits. The weekly metric hit its lowest point in more than four years Thursday at 339,000; combined with Friday's unexpectedly positive monthly jobs report, the report signaled a strengthening labor market.
"The overall trend seems to be that the labor market is improving," RBS Securities currency strategist Brian Kim told Reuters.
However, enthusiasm for the numbers waned when a Labor Department spokesman confirmed that a "processing issue" had caused issues with the numbers from one large state, reportedly California. Missing claims will likely be added to next week's total, but it's highly unlikely that the number not counted would have made Thursday's report much less positive.
"We will likely see some payback in the claims data reported next week. But through this potential volatility, it does look like the trend in the claims is improving somewhat," JPMorgan economist Daniel Silver -- who also believes the problem state was California -- told Reuters.
Four initial public offerings find big pops in market debuts
While the indexes were mostly breaking even Thursday, new stocks were tearing up the charts -- four companies debuted on Wall Street after IPOs and all increased at least 20 percent.
The two biggest names in Thursday's crop of public debuts were Shutterstock and Realogy. Shutterstock, which sells digital images online, was valued at more than $700 million after selling shares for $17, then saw that price increase 27 percent at the close. Realogy, which owns real-estate companies such as Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, sold IPO shares for $27 apiece and raised more than $1 billion, which it needs to pay off debt. In an indication that Wall Street believes the housing market is returning to health, shares increased 25 percent on the first day.
Drug developers accounted for the other two Thursday openings: Intercept Pharmaceuticals sold shares at $15 and increased 27 percent to close at $19.03, and Kythera Biopharmaceuticals sold shares at $16 and gained 22 percent to $19.52.
The day's activity cheered investors, who have seen an up-and-down IPO market since a deep freeze after Facebook's bungled debut in May.
"Whether the market has full recovered, it's too early to say," Thomas Murphy, head of securities and capital markets for the law firm McDermott Will & Emery, told The Associated Press. "There's always some kind of a tipping point where things start to be in vogue and start to get going again. I hope that's what we're seeing here."
Workday prepares for its IPO, investors prepared to shell out
Workday investors hope Thursday was just a preamble to the company's own debut Friday. The company was expected to set a final price for its highly anticipated IPO Thursday evening before debuting on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
The Pleasanton cloud software company was founded just seven years ago by PeopleSoft founder David Duffield and veteran PeopleSoft executive Aneel Bhusri, after their former company was purchased in a hostile takeover by Oracle (ORCL) and Larry Ellison in 2005. Now, it is expected to be the biggest-ever stock offering by a cloud computing company, and the largest market debut by a tech company of any kind since Facebook's.
"There's no doubt in a lot of peoples' minds that this is a market-leading company," Kevin Spain, a general partner at San Mateo's Emergence Capital Partners, told Bloomberg News. "That obviously drives a premium."
For more on the pricing of Workday's stock this evening and to follow the company's Friday debut on Wall Street, go to www.siliconvalley.com.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
Up: Zynga, SunPower (SPWRA), LinkedIn, Advanced Micro Devices, eBay (EBAY), Symantec, Splunk, Electronic Arts (ERTS), Google (GOOG), Adobe (ADBE), Netflix (NFLX), Yahoo (YHOO), Facebook, Nvidia, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Yelp, Applied Materials, Oracle
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 2.37, or 0.08 percent, to 3,049.41
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 18.58, or 0.14 percent, to 13,326.39
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 0.28, or 0.02 percent, to 1,432.84
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.