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The Friday Roundup: Apple, Alibaba, and Amal

Welcome to The Friday Roundup, where I break down this past week’s most notable news (well, mostly business news) as well as general things I’m loving.

Apple Takes a Bite out of the Competition

Apple (AAPL) absolutely crushed earnings expectations. The company sold an insane 9 iPhones every second last quarter, to the tune of $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in profits. Oh and by the way, that was the most profitable quarter of any public company, ever. They’re also now sitting on $178 billion in cash, which means they could pay all cash for just about any company they wanted to buy.

To really get how amazing their quarter was, check out these 15 mind blowing Apple earnings facts.

Unsurprisingly, the stock is up almost 10% since Tuesday. I’m holding my Apple stock for the long haul, and hope to buy more on the next dip in price.

Alibaba: a Thumbs Down

This week was not as kind to one of my other portfolio holdings, Alibaba (BABA). The stock is down about 9% since it reported revenue of $4.2 billion, lower than analyst expectations of $4.5 billion.

The thing is, I’m not all that upset about Alibaba’s earnings. While the company missed revenue expectations in dollar terms, revenue was up a whopping 40% from last year. Alibaba’s net income (in my mind the more important figure), beat analyst expectations. Plus, Alibaba had strong mobile user growth (the users buying off of cell phones rather than laptops) – a number everyone seems to be obsessed with these days.

In fact, I’m planning to buy more Alibaba either today or early next week.

Yahoo! to Spin off Alibaba

This week, Yahoo (YHOO) learned that it’s judged by the company it keeps. Yahoo announced it will be spinning off its 15% stake in Alibaba (worth $39 billion), mostly to avoid a 40% tax on selling the shares. No one really knows yet what Yahoo will do with the spinoff. Yahoo’s stock price shot up on the spinoff news, then got slapped right back down to earth when Alibaba’s stock fell yesterday.

US GDP Growth Falls

It’s good news/bad news for the US economy today. GDP growth was only 2.5% in the fourth quarter, below economist expectations of 3%, and far below the third quarter’s amazing 5% growth rate.

There is good news though. Consumer spending increased 4.3% last quarter, far ahead of the third quarter’s 3.2% rate. And economists predict that low gas prices will keep that consumer spending figure up in the near future.

Greece: “To the left, to the left”

As expected, Greece elected the left-wing Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras and leftist party Syriza. The new government wants to renegotiate Greece’s $284 billion bailout agreements, mostly by lifting the austerity restrictions. As a first move, Tsipras is halting privatization plans (i.e. taking public sources of income into private business). The rest of the EU, led by Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel, are not impressed.

I’m coming for you, Greek bailout
But wait, there’s more! The Syriza party is quite chummy with Russia, much to the discomfort of Western leaders. The new prime minister made the Russian ambassador his first foreign visitor.

Shake Shack IPO

Shake Shack (SHAK), home of what might be the most delicious fast-food burger, held its initial public offering last night. The debut price was $21 per share, the stock is already up an insane 135% this morning. Doesn’t exactly scream “value” to me; I’ll be staying out of this one.

Amal Clooney is no Princess

Amal Clooney shot down a sexist reporter like a boss. The human rights lawyer (note: not actress or model) was at the European Court of Human Rights to argue against a Turkish politician who denied the existence of an Armenian genocide in 1915. A reporter from The Telegraph had the chance to ask her a brilliant question and went with… “who are you wearing?”

Amal’s reply? “Ede and Ravenscroft.” Aka, her legal robes maker.

I’m fascinated, and honestly a bit torn on the media’s obsession with women’s clothes over their accomplishments. For more reading on the subject, Politico wrote an interesting article on “The Princess Effect.”

Second best media takedown of the week? Marshawn Lynch, who just doesn’t want to get fined.

On that note, hope you all have a fun Super Bowl weekend!

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