12 July, 2010

The Month that was Espana's

The World Cup in South Africa has now come and gone with the Spanish armada being crowned World Cup Champions. After a month long spectacle that saw Europe descend and then resurrect into the new football--um soccer, power the Oranje of the Dutch can only reminisce at what could of been after a hard fought, often literally, 1-0 World Cup Final Match.

Sports it seems has taken center stage of late, to the delight of BP (BP) which has seen it's stock drop 40% in the last three months as the Oil Spill, caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico continues to rage on. A $20 Billion expense net already set up by the company for damages and clean up, is a big chuck of change, even to big oil! But the biggest news coming to the state of Florida may not be the drifting oil slick but LeBron James.

The biggest name in Basketball decided to take his talents from Cleveland to Miami to play for the Heat franchise with fellow free-agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. A move that makes Miami the center of the basketball universe and puts the triumvirate within earshot of a sports dynasty.

But this time of year isn't just for Soccer tournaments and sports free agency, with the June quarter ending, earnings announcements will be gearing into full swing, especially in the technology space, with some of the biggest names like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC) and Apple (AAPL) expected this week and next.

With the economy and employment picture still at the forefront of a shaky market, there's a lot of questions about where the earning's growth will come from. Microsoft and Intel are set to benefit from a upgrade cycle of computers and software in the corporate space, especially the software giant from Seattle as it bangs the Windows 7 drum, to distance further and further from the previous and ultimately drastic under-achiever that was Windows Vista. Where as Google and Apple are capturing the mind-space of the consumer with highly successful smart-phone platforms Android and iOS respectively.

Apple's iPhone 4 launch was the most successful yet, selling 1.7 Million units in the first 3 days and adding to that 3 Million iPad tablets sold, in just under 3 months, and Apple investors continue to move towards higher and higher expectations. While Google's Android software is being pushed hard by phone carriers around the world, Google by giving its software away for free isn't exactly lining its pockets. What the company is banking on, is the ubiquitous nature of its search brand and mobile applications. An Android world means Google at the front and center of that many more mobile screens and quests for information.

The start of this summer and past the holiday weekends in North America have been dominated by the Sports pages, but now as the stadium lights dim on South Africa and the LeBron nuptials are signed, the focus shifts back to the markets and a slew of earnings releases and conference call transcripts to pour over and discover the next investment opportunity.

Disclosure: Author owns AAPL, GOOG