Today: Apple reaches new 52-week highs despite reports that the iPhone 6 could be delayed and the iWatch may not be a "watch" at all. Also: Riverbed Technology and Harmonic plunge after revealing disappointing quarters.
The Lead: Apple gains despite doubts about iPhone 6, iWatch
Apple has been rolling toward all-time record prices on expectations for a new iPhone and smartwatch introduction this summer, and not even reports doubting the prevailing thoughts on Apple's next product intro could stop the Cupertino company's stock market momentum Monday.
Apple reached its highest intraday and closing prices since 2012 on Monday -- after adjusting for its recent 7-for-1 stock split -- and closed with a 1.3 percent gain at $96.45, but an analyst reported that an upcoming iPhone may face production issues. KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note that Apple faces difficulties producing a new, larger version of the iPhone set to be released later this year, which could push the device's debut back to 2015.
"Even if the product is launched in 2014, it is likely to take place after mid-4Q14, which is later than the September-October of consensus, with shipments being lower than consensus of 15-20 million units," Kuo wrote.
The other star of Apple's expected product launch will not be what many people expect, Jackdaw Research founder and analyst Jan Dawson wrote in a blog post. Instead of a smartwatch with an interactive display, like the ones Google showed off recently, Apple's move into wearables will consist of sensors with the main function of communicating back to users' smartphones, and will be offered in a variety of form factors instead of just as wrist jewelry.
"It's easy to imagine some that would be wrist-worn, others that could be clipped to clothing or worn around the neck," Dawson wrote. "And unlike many of the fitness trackers out there today, which are hidden under clothing, at least some of these could be proudly worn outside clothing, which explains the significant investment Apple is making in hiring people with fashion-related expertise."
While those two analysts gave possible new narratives for Apple's near future, Others stayed on a track that has been well-trod recently: Upgrades and price target increases. Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes was the latest analyst to change his tune on the stock, moving his rating from "Equal Weight" to "Overweight," the equivalent of "Buy," and boosting his target price from $95 to $110.
"We believe Tim Cook has solidified his strategy and regained the confidence of Apple stakeholders in many ways — reversing many of the warning signs we saw earlier in the year," Reitzes, who downgraded the stock in February, wrote in Monday's note.
Morgan Stanely joined in the price target party, boosting its estimate of the right price for Apple stock to $110 from $99 on hopes for a smartwatch that will rest at the top of the market.
"In our view, Apple will introduce a device with more sensors, and better form factor and aesthetics than competing devices in the market priced at $100 to $250," analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a note.
SV150 market report: Riverbed, Harmonic can't stop overall gain
Apple helped boost Wall Street's fortunes Monday, with all the major indexes gaining and Silicon Valley tech stocks also increasing despite poor performance from two companies that revealed weak results.
Gigamon became the first Silicon Valley company this earnings season to suffer a big loss after informing investors of a weak quarter, but it wasn't alone for long. San Francisco networking company Riverbed Technology and San Jose video-equipment provider Harmonic announced Monday morning that their second-quarter sales would be less than forecast, and both took big hits from investors. Riverbed's earnings miss could be incredibly costly, as the firm is in the cross hairs of activist investor Elliott Management, which reiterated its desire to buy Riverbed or have it sold to someone willing to pay more. "Riverbed's poor performance this quarter reveals its decision to stonewall prospective buyers to be a serious and costly mistake," the hedge fund's statement read. Riverbed fell 8.6 percent to $18.60 while Harmonic declined 13.7 percent to $6.15.
Silicon Valley earnings season officially kicks off Tuesday with reports from Intel and Yahoo; Intel hit a new 52-week high and gained 0.8 percent to $31.49 Monday, and Yahoo added 0.8 percent to $35.70 as the valuation of Asian investment Alibaba increased. LinkedIn jumped 2 percent to $159.70 after acquiring startup Newsle, and Twitter fell 2 cents to $38.31 while Facebook gained 2.4 percent to $67.90 as the social-medai rivals detailed their popularity during the World Cup final. Google increased 1.3 percent to $594.26 while losing the executive who brought Google Glass to fruition to Amazon and reportedly trying again for higher-quality programming on YouTube. eBay declined 0.7 percent to $51.16 after striking a deal with Sotheby's, and Pandora added 2.7 percent to $26.91 as the Department of Justice reportedly investigates collusion against the Oakland streaming-audio company.
Up: AMD, Tesla Motors, Netflix, Pandora, Facebook, LinkedIn, VMware, Splunk, Electronic Arts, SolarCity, Workday, Google, Apple, Gilead, Nvidia
Down: GoPro, Ruckus, NetApp, Zynga, eBay, Juniper, Symantec, Cisco, Twitter
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 13.96, or 0.92 percent, to 1,536.21
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 24.93, or 0.56 percent, to 4,440.42
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 111.61, or 0.66 percent, to 17,055.42
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 9.53, or 0.48 percent, to 1,977.1