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Daniel Cullinane CPA

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​Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has a new problem. Sales of the Mac have started to fall, which makes it no better off than the personal computer (PC) companies with which it has competed for decades. In the second quarter, computer sales dropped 5.2% worldwide to 64.3 million. Apple Mac sales dropped 4.9% to 4.6 million, according to Gartner.

A large part of the industry slide was due to industry leader China-based Lenovo. Its sales fell 2.2% to 13.2 million. Its sales make up about one fifth of the entire market.

The research firm reported:

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.3 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 5.2 percent decline from the second quarter of 2015, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, but Gartner analysts said the market is showing some signs of improvement.


All regions except North America experienced a PC shipment decline. The Latin America region was still very weak largely because of political and economic instability. PC shipments in Latin America are expected to fall below 5 million units for the second quarter of 2016, which is a decline of more than 20 percent from the second quarter of 2015. These shipment results would be some of the lowest in the history of the Latin America PC industry.

In a rare occurrence, China was not cited as the cause of large movement in the market.

As for the industry rank for the period:

Lenovo maintained the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2016, despite a 2.2 percent decline in units from the same period last year. This was the fifth consecutive quarter of global PC shipment declines for Lenovo. The company experienced double-digit growth in the U.S. mobile PC market, but EMEA continued to be a challenge due to inventory build during the quarter. In Asia/Pacific, Lenovo’s shipments declined, but the decline was less than the overall average in the region.

In the tier just below HP, Lenovo and Dell, there is elbowing for the next spot.

Asus, Apple and Acer are battling it out for the fourth position in worldwide PC shipments for the second quarter of 2016, as preliminary results get finalized.


​In the Federal Reserve’s endless quest to raise interest rates in the past two years, one of the big concerns with a strong economy and with better wage growth was that inflation might get out of hand from a 2.0% to 2.5% target. More recent data, aided by lower energy costs and a softening economy, has pointed to inflation being quite well contained.

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its reading on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January, showing that monthly price gains were flat at 0.0% on the headline “all items” CPI. The index for all items, less food and energy, or the core CPI, rose by 0.2% in January. Dow Jones (WSJ) had indicated that the consensus estimates were for a gain of 0.2% on each reading.

The year-over-year reading is the real measurement of annualized inflation. Prices were up just 1.6% from January of 2018 on the all-items reading. The all-items index for the annual January reading actually was the smallest increase since the period ending June 2017. The core reading, after backing out food and energy prices, was up by 2.2% and that was the same reading that had been seen in the prior two months.

Wednesday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report said that the energy component is having a drag on inflation:

The energy index declined for the third consecutive month, offsetting increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy and for food. All the major energy component indexes declined in January, with the gasoline index falling 5.5 percent. The food index increased 0.2 percent, with the index for food at home rising 0.1 percent and the food away from home index increasing 0.3 percent.

Other index readings were seen as follows on the monthly changes:

The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rose 0.3%, and the index for lodging away from home rose 0.5%.
The apparel index rose 1.1% in January, its largest increase since February 2018.
The medical care index rose 0.2% in January, with its component indexes mixed.
The recreation index continued to rise, increasing 0.3% in January, as did the indexes for household furnishings and operations and for education.
The index for airline fares continued to fall in January, declining 0.9%.

All in all, the Federal Reserve will still be watching inflation ahead, but the current trends have been that inflation is within check.

​After Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) released its most recent quarterly results after the markets closed on Wednesday, investors cheered, sending shares up massively. Analysts seemed to agree, with a majority hiking their price targets in response.

24/7 Wall St. has included some highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts are saying about Facebook after the fact.

The social media giant said that it had $2.38 in earnings per share (EPS) and $16.9 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that called for $2.19 in EPS and $16.4 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.44 on $12.97 billion in revenue.

During the latest quarter, daily active users totaled 1.52 billion on average for December 2018, an increase of 9% year over year, and monthly active users totaled 2.32 billion, an increase of 9%.

Mobile advertising revenue represented roughly 93% of advertising revenue, up from 89% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Here’s what analysts had to say after the report:

Oppenheimer has an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $195 from $185.
Nomura has a Neutral rating and raised its price target to $172 from $148.
Canaccord Genuity reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target price to $200 from $180.
Morgan Stanley reiterated an Overweight rating and raised its target to $190 from $175.
Cowen reiterated an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $195 from $184.
RBC reiterated a Positive rating with a $200 price target.
Deutsche Bank reiterated it as a Buy and raised its target to $200 from $195.
Stifel maintained a Hold rating with a $155 price target.
SunTrust maintained a Buy rating with a $210 price target.
Barclays maintained an Overweight rating and a $210 price target.
JPMorgan reiterated an Overweight rating and a $210 price target.
Mizuho maintained a Buy rating with a $210 price target.
Piper Jaffray reiterated an Overweight rating and raised its target to $195 from $190.

Shares of Facebook were last seen up about 12% at $168.64 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $123.02 to $218.62. The consensus price target is $184.67.


Copyright ©​ Daniel Cullinane CPA.

​Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) reported fourth-quarter financial results after markets closed Wednesday. The social media giant said that it had $2.38 in earnings per share (EPS) and $16.9 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that called for $2.19 in EPS and $16.4 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $1.44 in EPS and $12.97 billion in revenue.

During the latest quarter, daily active users totaled 1.52 billion on average for December 2018, an increase of 9% year over year, and monthly active users totaled 2.32 billion, an increase of 9%.

Mobile advertising revenue represented roughly 93% of advertising revenue, up from 89% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Facebook did not offer any guidance in the release. However, the consensus estimates call for $1.59 in EPS and $14.78 billion in revenue for the current quarter.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, commented:

Our community and business continue to grow. We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.

Shares of Facebook closed Wednesday at $150.42, with a consensus analyst price target of $184.67 and a 52-week trading range of $123.02 to $218.62. Following the announcement, the stock was initially up over 6% at $160.33 in the after-hours session.





​Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Wednesday, but the markets closed up strong on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrials now up over 2,700 points from the lows in early January. Prior to the January rally continuing into February, particularly seen in the final weeks of 2018, investors faced less reward from buying immediately after every big market sell-off. Now investors need to consider how they want their assets positioned for 2019 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst reports, along with trading history. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was up 3.9% at $41.67 on Tuesday and was indicated up another 2% at $42.50 on news of layoffs with earnings. Wedbush Securities maintained it as Outperform but lowered its price target to $56 from $64 as revenue fell below guidance and estimates because of weaker Call of Duty sales and in-game monetization for other titles. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but cut its target price to $64 from $70, and Merrill Lynch cut its price objective to $54 from $58 in its call.

Aquantia Corp. (NYSE: AQ) shares were indicated down over 20% at $7.65 after weak first quarter-guidance and earnings. Morgan Stanley downgraded it to Equal Weight from Overweight and Raymond James downgraded shares to Market Perform from Outperform.

Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) was maintained as Market Perform and the price target was lowered to $318 from $337 (versus a $319.43 prior close) at RBC Capital Markets. The firm expects no growth in its stock price with its MS drug revenues at potential, with flat or even lower sales trends ahead.

Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $45 from $43 at Argus. Shares closed up almost 2% at $40.04 on Tuesday. The consensus target price is $42.22 and the 52-week trading range is $25.93 to $40.33.

Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: CLOV) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $40 price target (versus a $25.19 close) at H.C. Wainwright. This stock has been quite volatile, with a 52-week range of $11.50 to $65.24, and its consensus target price was last seen at $28.10.

Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE: ED) was downgraded to Underperform from In-Line at Evercore ISI Group. The stock was indicated down 0.7% at $78.00, after closing up 0.4% at $78.57 on Tuesday, and it has a consensus target price of $78.50.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price objective was lowered to $170 from $173 at Merrill Lynch. Shares were last seen down 3.3% at $159.74 on Wednesday morning, after closing up 2% at $165.19 on Tuesday. The consensus target price was $176.71.

​DocuSign Inc. (NASDAQ: DOCU) was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. Shares closed up 2% at $52.66 and had a consensus target price of $57.70 ahead of this call.

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was started with a Neutral rating at Seaport Global. Ford closed up 1.56% at $8.46 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $7.41 to $12.15 and with a consensus analyst target of $9.32.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, but the firm lowered its price target to $14 from $16.

Galectin Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: GALT) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $11 price target (versus a $4.46 close) at B. Riley FBR. It has only a $200 million market cap, and its 52-week trading range is $3.10 to $9.49.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) was started with a Buy rating at Seaport Global. GM shares closed up 1% at $39.03 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $30.56 to $45.00 and with a consensus target price of $45.45.

Geron Corp. (NASDAQ: GERN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $4 target price (versus a $1.31 close) at BTIG Research. The stock was indicated up 14% at $1.50 after the call, in a 52-week range of $0.95 to $6.99.

Globant S.A. (NYSE: GLOB) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $75 from $65 (versus a $68.00 close) at Wedbush. The firm noted that the company’s results are expected to benefit from a combination of ongoing expansion of digital-related project sizes and currency exchange tailwinds.ALSO READ: America’s Most and Least Dependable Cars
HubSpot Inc. (NYSE: HUBS) was up 2.6% at $172.00 on Tuesday’s post-earnings reaction. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price objective to $205 from $185 (versus a $172.00 close). The firm noted that enterprise strength is driving up billings and upside to average selling prices with multiple product sales momentum in 2019.

Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: LSCC) was raised to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna. Its shares were up 2.9% at $8.18 ahead of earnings but were last seen trading up 19% at $9.75 after earnings.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND) was maintained as Buy at Argus, but the firm lowered its target price to $150 from $200. The independent research firm noted that recent weakness offers a buying opportunity as the company is believed to be on track to post solid earnings growth over the next several years. The stock closed up 1.5% at $119.76 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $98.56 to $278.62 a share.

Medical Properties Trust Inc. (NYSE: MPW) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $23 from $18 (versus an $18.15 close) at Jefferies. The 52-week range is $12.20 to $18.56, and the consensus target price is $16.27.

​Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP) was down 9.4% at $59.19 on Tuesday’s post-earnings reaction, in a 52-week range of $54.17 to $82.29. Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy.

Myovant Sciences Ltd. (NASDAQ: MYOV) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the target price was raised to $25 from $22 at Barclays. Shares closed up 2.3% at $19.19 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $13.43 to $27.45. The consensus target price is $30.29.

National Retail Properties Inc. (NYSE: NNN) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was raised to $55 from $50 (versus a $52.12 close, after a 2.9% drop after earnings) at B. Riley FBR.

OncoCyte Corp. (NYSE: OCX) was started as Overweight with a $6 price target (versus a $3.84 close) at Piper Jaffray. It has a 52-week range of $1.10 to $6.92 and a market cap of only $191 million.

Qualys Inc. (NASDAQ: QLYS) was up 1.7% at $96.41 ahead of earnings, but the guidance had the shares down almost 16% at $81.00 on Wednesday morning. JPMorgan downgraded it to Underweight from Neutral and cut the price target to $82 from $90. Wedbush maintained its Outperform rating with a $95 price target, but it noted that guidance was nothing to write home about and addressed whether guidance was conservative or there is slowing demand.24/7 Wall St.
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Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was up 1.4% at $175.55 on Tuesday in reaction to earnings, and shares were indicated up another 2% at $179.00 on Wednesday. RBC Capital Markets upgraded it to Outperform from Sector Perform and raised the target price to $230 from $180. Wedbush Securities reiterated its Outperform rating and $200 price target, noting that Shopify is well positioned to keep gaining its share of e-commerce wallets over time and to capture more merchants across the entire spectrum of size from aspirational to established companies to enterprise level.

Synlogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SYBX) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $22 price target (versus a $9.56 close, after a 7.3% gain) at BTIG Research. The 52-week range is $5.75 to $14.59, and the market cap $243 million.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UAA) was maintained as Neutral with a $20 price target (versus a $22.21 close, after a 6.9% post-earnings gain) at Wedbush, with the firm noting that there is no need to rush into the shares at the current level after earnings. Credit Suisse also stuck with a Neutral rating.

If you are retired or about to retire, it’s time to think about retirement income stocks. Check out 15 top dividend stocks for retirees to own in 2019.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls included BHP, Cisco, Crown Castle, Gilead Sciences, Goldcorp, Take-Two Interactive Software, Varonis, Whiting Petroleum and many more. Monday’s top analyst calls were in Avis Budget, Bed Bath & Beyond, Canadian Solar, CBS, Electronic Arts, Goodyear, Nvidia, Tesla, Watts Water and many more.

​The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications Wednesday morning, noting a decrease of 3.7% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index for the week ending February 8. Mortgage interest rates dropped on all five types of loans the MBA tracks.

On an unadjusted basis, the MBA’s composite index dipped by 4% in the past week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased by 6% compared with the week ended February 1. The unadjusted purchase index fell by 6% for the week and was 5% lower year over year.

Mortgage loan rates for a top-tier 30-year fixed-rate loan slipped from 4.53% to 4.44% last week, according to Mortgage News Daily. As of Tuesday night, top-tier borrowers were paying 4.45% for that loan. The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticked down in the last week from 2.70% to 2.69% as of last night’s close. A year ago the 10-year note yielded 2.86%.

Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, commented:

Application activity fell last week – even with rates decreasing – as renewed uncertainty about the domestic and global economy likely held potential homebuyers off the market. Despite the recent decline in applications, we still expect that the continued strength of the job market and lower rates will support more purchase activity in the coming months.

The MBA’s refinance index decreased by 0.1% week over week, and the percentage of all new applications that were seeking refinancing rose from 41.6% to 43.2%.

Adjustable rate mortgage loans accounted for 7.5% of all applications, down from 7.8% in the prior week.

According to the MBA, last week’s average mortgage loan rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 4.69% to 4.65%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped from 4.50% to 4.48%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 4.11% to 4.04%.

The contract interest rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage loan slipped from 4.04% to 3.97%. Rates on a 30-year FHA-backed fixed-rate loan fell from 4.70% to 4.61%.

​It turns out that the jobs market can keep improving. In the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that the number of job openings reached a new record high of 7.3 million in the month of December.

While this has a one-month lag, the BLS showed a much larger than expected gain in the payrolls for January just a week earlier. What stands out about the number of job openings in this JOLTS report is that it exceeds the number of the total unemployed job seekers by more than a million.

This JOLTS report also suggests that fears of a slowdown in the jobs market have been premature, erasing some concerns that the trends had contracted marginally in November. Another milestone for the jobs market is that there have now been more job openings than unemployed Americans for the past 10 consecutive months.

The private sector led the charge with an additional 198,000 openings in December. This was broken down as 88,000 construction job openings, followed by 84,000 in accommodation and food services. The number in health care and social assistance was 79,000 in December.

Where things look even stronger is in the year-over-year comparisons. Job openings were up by 29%, and the number of hires was up 7%. The highly important quits rate was up 4%. The BLS indicated that the layoffs and discharges rate rose 3%, but the number of unemployed Americans was down by 4% in December.

The quits rate is now at the highest level in 18 years. As far as why the quits rate is so important: when more and more workers are quitting their existing jobs it is a sign that nation’s workforce is willing to pursue new opportunities for higher pay or for other issues, such as proximity to home and lifestyle preferences. If everyone is too scared to quit their current jobs, it means they might be worried about job security elsewhere.

At least some pockets were signaling some contraction as the number of job openings decreased in a number of industries. The largest decrease was seen in the nondurable goods manufacturing, with a drop of 37,000 openings. The federal government saw a drop of 32,000 openings, and real estate and rental and leasing saw a drop of 31,000 openings.

December’s JOLTS report also shows a total picture for all of 2018. The number of hires for the year totaled 68.5 million, and total separations totaled 65.9 million. While these figures include the workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year, this brought a net employment gain of 2.6 million jobs in 2018.




​A number of reports indicate that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) may pull out of New York City as a location for its second headquarters. The “second headquarters” distinction is actually split with Northern Virginia, which got a part of the new operations as well. The potential of 25,000 new jobs for the New York area has not stopped a loud chorus of objections to the billions of dollars of tax benefits Amazon will get, or local residents worried about rising real estate values and strains on local infrastructure. If Amazon decides against New York, several of the 20 cities the company initially viewed as finalists will be back on the table. Many analysts originally thought Boston would get Amazon’s nod. It now becomes a favorite, if not the favorite, alternative.

Of the original 20 cities, near the end of the contest, a very small number were handicapped as probable picks. These included those with large amounts of commercial space, proximity to international airports, a ranking of local technology worker skills, the numbers of these workers and their likely competition. A rating by recode, which handicapped the cities, put Boston near or at the top of each of these. Office costs were well below New York’s, as were wages. Boston has long been a major location for tech companies, and the area along Route 128 that circles the city has been the home to tech operations and startups for years.

Boston may have made the most detailed proposal to Amazon of any other city. Its formal pitch was over 200 pages long and said:

As the higher education capital of the world, Boston attracts and retains the best and brightest from around the globe and we are proud to be home to the highest concentration of young adults of any of the 25 largest cities in the country. In July 2017, we released the first citywide plan in more than fifty years, Imagine Boston 2030. Shaped by more than 15,000 voices, this plan lays the framework and vision for our future. With Imagine Boston 2030, we are ready to welcome Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

Boston is one of only three locations in the northeast that were part of the Amazon list of finalists. The other two were New York and Newark. Newark almost certainly was demographically the worst-off city. This could affect how easy it would be to get high-level workers, locate good housing in large volume and be located in a city that could afford huge tax credits without undermining its own future.

Amazon has, if media reports are correct, started to consider its options if New York City becomes less attractive. If Boston is not at the top of the list as the next place Amazon would look, it is close.

Apple Inc iPhone sales in China fell 20 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, while sales for smartphones made by home-grown rival Huawei soared by 23 percent, data from industry research firm IDC showed on Monday.

The report is the first to put a firm number on the scale of a recent decline in Apple’s fortunes in the world’s second largest economy, after Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook pointed to China as a big factor in a rare cut in the company’s quarterly sales forecast last month.

My take: As long as a smartphone in China is just a vehicle for WeChat, Apple S versions aren’t going to cut it.

​Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares made a handy gain on Monday after an analyst came out in favor of the electric vehicle (EV) company. While analysts seem to be split down the middle on this stock, with most having either a Buy or a Sell rating, Canaccord Genuity makes a great case for a rally.

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Tesla to a Buy rating from Hold and raised its price target to $450 from $330, implying an upside of 47% from the most recent closing price of $305.80.

The brokerage firm believes the past two quarters and recent guidance for the first quarter have removed significant concerns for both production capability and profitability of the critical Model 3. As such, Canaccord Genuity sees a more stable 2019 with far fewer concerns for investors in the company.

Also the recent string of price cuts was further proof that the cost-cutting and right-sizing the company has undertaken are resulting in concrete movement toward the ultimate goal of an affordable $35,000 Model 3.

With strong shipments into the European Union and China, Canaccord Genuity expects that the initial “tiny profit” first-quarter expectation that the company announced in early January will prove to be the low point in earnings for the year and that the ramp toward year-end may quell the short thesis.

Prior concerns around corporate governance seem to be allayed with the addition of Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as independent directors, and many believe that CEO Elon Musk is demonstrating a calmer demeanor characteristic of strong leaders.

In addition, Canaccord Genuity views Tesla’s coveted autopilot technology as having an almost insurmountable lead in autonomous driving, which eventually will be the key component of future transportation.

On the other hand, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas came out with a report on Monday calling Tesla’s EV market “unsustainable.” Instead, Jonas is plugging a “clean sheet” start-up EV firm Rivian. He said Morgan Stanley has a “strong belief that all-electric vehicle architecture will need a truly ‘clean sheet’ approach” to take on Tesla, rather than “adapting existing legacy [original equipment manufacturer] architecture.”

Shares of Tesla were last seen up about 3% at $314.17 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $244.59 to $387.46. The consensus analyst price target is $328.71.

Apple Inc has moved its modem chip engineering effort into its in-house hardware technology group from its supply chain unit, two people familiar with the move told Reuters, a sign the tech company is looking to develop a key component of its iPhones after years of buying it from outside suppliers.

Modems are an indispensable part of phones and other mobile devices, connecting them to wireless data networks. Apple once used Qualcomm Inc chips exclusively but began phasing in Intel Corp chips in 2016 and dropped Qualcomm from iPhones released last year…

Apple’s investment in modem chips comes as carriers and other phone makers are rolling out devices for the next generation of faster wireless networks known as 5G. Rival handset makers Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd already make their own modems.

My take: According to The Information, which reported late last year that Apple headhunters were looking for a cellular modem systems architect, it could take Apple three years before its iPhone modems are ready.