If you're looking for stocks that are strong enough to buck the downtrend on Monday, this one certainly sticks out: Apple Inc. was up about 2 per cent in afternoon trading, even as the S&P 500 continued to struggle with broad losses that are associated with fears about the European debt crisis and ongoing debate over extending the U.S. debt ceiling..
Apple's gains put the stock into record-high territory again, and the gains over the past month have been an impressive 18 per cent - underlining the stock's ability to zig while the rest of the market zags. The new-found enthusiasm for the stock coincides with rumours that it is going after the lower end of the smartphone market, by offering low-priced iPhones.
At the same time, it is making big inroads into China, where the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is getting close to offering the iPhone through China Mobile Ltd., the country's biggest mobile carrier with 600 million subscribers.
And, finally, there is the earnings report to consider. Apple will deliver its third quarter earnings on Tuesday, after markets close - and analysts remain upbeat. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and Robert W. Baird both reiterated their "buy" recommendations on the stock on Monday, along with price targets of $450 (U.S.). According to Bloomberg, a consensus of analysts expect the company to generate operating earnings of $5.86 a share, up 88 per cent over last year.