Markets were on mute for Apple’s new iPhones

Markets were on mute for Apple’s new iPhones

An attendee looks at the brand new Apple iPhone 15 during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California. 

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our new, international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Oracle portends more market trouble
U.S. stocks slumped Tuesday — Oracle plunged 13.5% and Apple dropped 1.7% — giving the Nasdaq Composite its first losing day in three. Asia-Pacific markets were mostly down Wednesday as investors digested data from the region. South Korea’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 2% in August, while Japan’s wholesale inflation rate last month slowed to 3.2% year on year.

New iPhones, old prices
Apple announced the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, both of which come in a bigger Plus variety, at its annual launch event Tuesday. Both have swapped out Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for USB-C. Surprisingly, Apple kept the price of the iPhone 15 Pro unchanged from last year at $999. The company also refreshed its high-end Apple Watch Ultra with an updated chip and screen.

Google’s searching for a lawsuit win
The U.S. government’s lawsuit against Google, which began Tuesday, is one of the biggest tech antitrust trials in decades. The Department of Justice alleges that Google sustains its dominance in internet search by paying billions to be the default search engine across browsers and devices, choking off competitors. Google claims its search product’s popular because of its continued innovation.

Elon Musk, ‘outstanding person’
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for a probe into Elon Musk following a claim that he limited the Ukrainian army’s access to Starlink’s network. But Musk clarified that the “Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything.” Separately, speaking about Russia’s space program, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Elon Musk as an “outstanding person.”

[PRO] A $16 billion payout
A U.S. court ruled last week that Argentina must pay around $16 billion to minority shareholders of an energy company. But it’s the litigation financing company, which funded the lawsuit, that stands to gain the most. Analysts expect the firm’s U.S.-listed shares to jump by almost 40%.

The bottom line

Apple’s new iPhones couldn’t silence stocks’ September slump.

Shares of the most valuable company in the world sank 1.7% after Apple’s announcement. That’s not really something to worry about. Apple’s shares have tended to slip after announcing new products, but that’s usually a one-day hangover. In other words, yesterday’s fall is less a reflection of investor interest in the company — Apple’s one of those immovable bedrocks of the American stock market, at least for the past decade — than the current mood in markets.

Indeed, all of the “Magnificent Seven” tech stocks retreated yesterday, CNBC’s Scott Schnipper noted. While not part of the vaunted group, Oracle shares plummeted 13.5%. That’s its worst performance since 2002, after posting disappointing fiscal first-quarter earnings Monday.  

“Oracle, which isn’t a super large stock, but it is a look into the spending of businesses — and larger businesses at that — disappointed today, and that’s one of the factors that are suppressing both the NASDAQ and the S&P,” said Kim Forrest, founder at Bokeh Capital Partners.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.04%, snapping a two-day winning streak, while the S&P 500 declined 0.57%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.05%.

Investors looking for a silver lining in September can seek solace in noted investors’ and analysts’ calls.

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach’s predicted the Federal Reserve should be done raising interest rates. Even better, Gundlach thinks the Fed will cut “in the first half of the next year,” and at a speed much faster than it had raised rates. “The Fed raises rates by taking the stairs and they cut rates by taking the elevator,” Gundlach said.  

And David Kostin, Goldman Sachs’ chief U.S. equity strategist, told CNBC he thinks the S&P might exceed his year-end target of 4,500.

It’s true 4,500 isn’t that’s not far off from the index’s close of 4,461. But Kostin’s comments imply that — unlike Apple’s frozen iPhone prices — stocks will at least rise, and not remain stagnant or fall further, between now and the end of the year.