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Apple Roundup: Goldman Deal, Buffett Adoration, Ireland, Green Energy

Apple AAPL reported okayish results, but investors heaved a sigh of relief when iPhone demand turned out to be less disappointing than anticipated, especially given Taiwan Semiconductor’s TSM warning earlier on. And as in past earnings announcements, management continued to point to its services business that grew strong double digits and the installed base of iPhones (people who could be convinced to buy more services/entertainment from Apple in the future). Apple’s reasons for choosing Goldman are unclear given the company’s lack of experience in the area and since none of the companies are commenting on the media report. But it could have something to do with a lower payout as it strives to maintain profitability in a sluggish smartphone market. For Goldman, the advantages are more obvious because the company needs to break out into consumer finance as other areas of the business aren’t doing too well right now. The billionaire investor has revealed that in the last first quarter of 2018, he bought an additional 75 million shares of Apple for $12-13 billion, taking his total stake in the company to 240.3 million shares worth around $42.5 billion. It does all the things that Buffett likes: sells a sticky product, earns a huge profit ("If you look at Apple, I think it earns almost twice as much as the second most profitable company in the United States," he told CNBC), pays a dividend and buys back shares ("I love the idea of having our 5%, or whatever it is, maybe grow to 6 or 7% without our laying out a dime.").

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