Today: Apple stock shakes off a six-year post-WWDC losing streak and moves higher after announcing software revamp. Also: Tesla Motors hosts lively annual shareholders meeting.
The Lead: Apple bucks conference convention with post-WWDC gain
Apple's predictable stock pattern of heading up ahead of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and falling after was broken Tuesday, with the Cupertino company recording healthy gains to close at its highest price since 2012.
After announcing a host of software updates and changes at its annual WWDC keynote address Monday, Apple shares rose 1.4 percent to $637.54 Tuesday, the highest closing price for Apple stock since October 2012, just a month after shares reached their all-time high of more than $700. The move is also notable because Apple had dropped or stayed silent on the day of and after the WWDC keynote for six years running, and had followed that pattern with a 7.2 percent run-up in May.
While Apple did not show off any new hardware at Monday's event, the company exhibited a rare openness in allowing developers to offer features that affect the core iOS mobile experience, focused on creating a cohesive ecosystem spanning its mobile and desktop systems, and introduced software platforms aimed at the "smart home" and "quantified self" sectors that are believed to have strong growth potential.
Those and other Apple announcements led to near unanimously bullish analyst notes on the new features Tuesday.
"Apple continues to demonstrate how its integration between hardware, software and services across iPhone, iPad and Macs creates a sustainable differentiating advantage versus rival platforms," Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha wrote.
The lack of new hardware was expected, since Apple tends to focus on software at the WWDC event since moving iPhone debuts to their own schedule in 2011. However, the introduction of HealthKit -- which records and tracks a user's vital signs to gauge health -- suggests wearable products with sensors could be on the program for a blast of new hardware products in the fall.
"Although, as expected, no new hardware was announced, we see the last 12 months of ecosystem innovations ... and the planned fall launch timing for iOS 8 as all coming together to support a big leap forward on the hardware side" in the second half of 2014, Cowen analyst Timothy Arcuri reported.
Apple is the largest Silicon Valley technology company in terms of sales, and the most valuable company on Wall Street in terms of market capitalization, which ended Tuesday just shy of $550 billion. The company's current price is nearing the average price target of 46 analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters, which is $643.09, but will see a big change next week when Apple executes a planned 7-to-1 stock split that should bring the per-share price to less than $100.
SV150 market report: Tesla gains as Musk chats up shareholders
Wall Street indexes declined slightly Tuesday, but Silicon Valley tech stocks followed Apple to gains while Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk entertained shareholders at the Palo Alto electric car maker's annual meeting.
Tesla gained 0.1 percent to $204.94 on a quiet day for Wall Street, but founder Musk was anything but quiet at the company's annual meeting, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. While press were not allowed, Tesla did offer a live stream of the event, which Mercury News staff writer Dana Hull watched for a few important nuggets, including Musk saying he only expected to stay at the helm of the company for four or five years. Musk also predicted that Tesla would have autonomous driving technology operational in a limited form in a year, and slightly pushed back the schedule for the company's planned "Gigafactory" battery-production facility.
Facebook dropped 0.3 percent to $62.87 while announcing yet another acquisition, of mobile-focused Pryte, and possibly working on a plan to attract users younger than 13; Facebook's Instagram photo-sharing service upgraded its photo-editing tools, as well. Google fell 1.7 percent to $554.51 as YouTube service was restored in Turkey and one of the Mountain View company's experimental balloons crashed in Washington. Online textbook company Chegg used $30 million of its IPO haul to acquire online tutoring site InstaEDU to increase its offering, and shares in the Santa Clara company gained 7.4 percent to $5.81.Good Technology is in the pipeline for its initial public offering, but the company is already spending money, announcing the acquisition of the U.S. business of a Canadian competitor Fixmo. Chip equipment companies Applied Materials and Lam Research gained after Jefferies analysts labeled the two companies as "Buy" in an extensive report on the sector; Santa Clara's Applied Materials rose 4.4 percent to $21.42 while Fremont-based Lam gained 3.8 percent to $64.65.
Up: Applied Materials, Twitter, Intel, Apple, Gilead, Pandora, Hewlett-Packard, EA. Workday, SanDisk, LinkedIn
Down: SolarCity, Splunk, Salesforce, NetApp, Zynga, SunPower, Google, Netflix, Symantec, Adobe, VMware, AMD, Yahoo
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 3.7, or 0.26 percent, to 1,454.23
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 3.12, or 0.07 percent, to 4,234.08
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 21.29, or 0.13 percent, to 16,722.34
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 0.73, or 0.04 percent, to 1,924.24