In: Apple Computer, Inc. Notwithstanding the nebulous state of CEO Steve Jobs' health, the company is doing better than fine selling what can only be properly construed as quite luxurious devices in such a terrible economy. And while we cannot fail to note that the astonishing lack of succession plans at a mulibillion dollar company, one that is hugely based on the charisma of it's presently ill leader, the Cupertino-based company's diversification from its core Macintosh computer line -- iPod, iPhone, etc -- has been a solid business plan. From the NYTimes:
"Apple’s second-quarter profit, driven by strong sales of iPhones and iPods, beat Wall Street’s expectations despite the gloomy economy.
"The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., said on Wednesday that continued demand for its portable devices kept sales from dipping substantially during the typically slow months after the holiday shopping season.
"Despite a 3 percent slump in sales of the company’s Mac computers, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, called the quarter 'the best nonholiday earnings in the company’s history.' Apple reported that its net profit jumped 15 percent, to $1.21 billion, or $1.33 a share, from $1.05 billion, or $1.16 a share, in the same quarter a year ago.
"Quarterly revenue rose to $8.16 billion, from $7.51 billion last year."
At post time Apple shares are up $3.91, or 3.22%.
('Columbus Sailing From Palos,' by Ivan Aivazovsky via Bloomberg)
Out: Russian Art. The eastward expansion of the art world is, like everything else in this economy, slowed. From Bloomberg:
"An ornate silver and enamel punch bowl and ladle produced in Moscow by jeweler Feodor Ruckert around 1910 sold for $482,500 yesterday, more than double its estimate at Sotheby’s in New York.
"Mostly, though, prices were distinctly cooler in the morning and afternoon sessions devoted to Russian art.
"Total sales of $13.8 million fell short of the high estimate for $17.5 million. Of the 308 lots, 35.1 percent failed to sell.
"The global economic crunch has taken a toll on the number of ultra-rich wishing to acquire symbols of taste and luxury. Moscow has 32 billionaires, down from 110 a year ago, and the 100 richest Russians have lost 73 percent of their wealth last year, according to Forbes Russia magazine.
"The punch bowl, which had a presale high estimate of $200,000, stood out in the second part of yesterday’s sale, shining brightly amidst an assortment of Faberge pieces and icons.
"The priciest Faberge piece -- a silver toiletry set that once belonged to Russian Prince Gorchakov -- failed to sell."
Doesn't it suck that Damien Hirst's auction was timed so perfectly to coincide with the height of the contemporary art market?