Today: Apple reaches more record stock highs as rumors continue to flow ahead of expected debut event. Also: IPO market appears ready for resurgence as Lending Club files, Alibaba updates.
The Lead: Apple stock hits another record as wearable device predicted
After a two-day break, Apple's record-breaking ride on Wall Street resumed Wednesday as rumors continued to hint at what the worlds most valuable company will debut at its expected September event.
The Cupertino company's stock reached an all-time high of $102.57 in Wednesday trading and closed at a record price of $102.13, thanks to a 1.2 percent daily gain. The gains are reminiscent of the last time Apple rose to records amid the debut of the iPhone 5 in 2012, with several news sources predicting that a Sept. 9 event will include the debut of a new iteration of the popular smartphone.
Recode's John Paczkowski reported Wednesday morning that Apple will introduce more than just a new iPhone on that date, though. The veteran reporter wrote that Apple will also show off its planned wearable device, a gadget long expected to appear in the guise of a smartwatch, especially since Apple began securing trademarks to the phrase iWatch last year.
"The new device will, predictably, make good use of Apple's HealthKit health and fitness platform," Paczkowski wrote. "It will also -- predictably -- make good use of HomeKit, the company's new framework for controlling connected devices -- though it's not clear how broadly or in what way."
Just a few months ago, Paczkowski predicted a stand-alone event for Apple's wearable offering in October, but he now reports that Apple's production process has matured to the point it can introduce both new devices at a single event. That lines up with the prediction of Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, who believes the dual device debut will take place next month.
"Since our research suggests the first iteration of the 'iWatch' is more of a companion device, and thus requires a connection to an iPhone, we believe unveiling the two new devices at the same time makes sense," White wrote in June.
Apple has fueled iWatch rumors by hiring an executive from the wristwatch industry, part of a wave of fashion-industry hires. But not everybody believes Apple will debut a smartwatch next month: KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the iWatch could be pushed back to 2015 due to manufacturing difficulties, and Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson believes any Apple wearable will likely come in the form of several devices.
As is typical ahead of an expected Apple event, rumors are rolling in fast. Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that Apple is developing a larger iPad, an idea that didn't receive a warm welcome from tech analysts. On Friday, Reuters reported that Apple had run into a speed bump in production of screens for the iPhone 6, which is expected to include a larger offering than previous iterations of the smartphone.
In confirmed Apple news from Wednesday, another attempt by the company to ban U.S. imports of Samsung devices was denied by a San Jose judge. A jury found in May that Samsung infringed on Apple's patents with the devices, but the $120 million fine levied in that case was far less than in an earlier Silicon Valley courtroom showdown between the companies. The two rivals have agreed to settle all patent litigation in other countries, but their U.S. court fight appears to be ongoing.
SV150 market report: IPO market gets boost from Lending Club, Alibaba
Apple's gains helped boost Wall Street to a slight overall improvement Wednesday, as the market for initial public offerings for tech companies seemed to open back up.
After a summer break for tech IPOs was briefly interrupted earlier this week, Silicon Valley received a much bigger boost by the long-awaited filing of Lending Club, a San Francisco startup valued at nearly $4 billion on the private markets. The 8-year-old startup offers a marketplace for investors to offer loans to borrowers such as small businesses, providing an alternative to the bank-driven loan process prevalent for decades. The approach has proved popular: Lending Club facilitated $2.1 billion in loans in 2013, when it managed to turn a profit, and is on track for big gains in 2014, with $1.8 billion in loans in the first six months, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alibaba also managed to resuscitate excitement for its IPO by updating its filing with disclosures that showed gigantic profit and revenue growth in the most recent quarter, which may have helped part-owner Yahoo's stock grow 1 percent to $38.18 Wednesday.
Pleasanton cloud-software company Workday released earnings after the bell, revealing a net loss of $69.2 million, or 38 cents a share, on revenues of $186.8 million, representing year-over-year sales growth of 74 percent; Shares gained in late trading after falling 0.5 percent to $90.30 in the regular session. Cisco dropped a penny to $24.80 after UBS analyst Amitabh Passi noted the networking company was losing share to younger rivals such as Arista Networks and Juniper Networks; Arista received the biggest bump after the report, hitting an all-time high and gaining 9.2 percent to $83.16, while Juniper dropped 1.2 percent to $23.23. Another networking company, Aruba Networks, led the SV150 with a 5 percent gain after praise for its earnings report, closing at $21.26. After closing at a record high Tuesday, Facebook dropped 1.8 percent to $74.63 after Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible downgraded the company on fears of decelerating revenue growth.
Up: Applied Materials, Apple, Gilead, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard
Down: Zynga, Facebook, Pandora, Juniper, Nvidia, Netflix, EA, Google, SolarCity
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 2.06, or 0.13 percent, to 1,622.87
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 1.02, or 0.02 percent, to 4,569.62
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 15.31, or 0.09 percent, to 17,122.01
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 0.1 to 2,000.12