Where would this market be without Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)? Following Tuesday's fiscal second-quarter update from the world's largest company by market value, it is once again apparent that Apple is the most important company in the U.S., at least as far as investors are concerned.
Leading up to the earnings report, Apple shares had been retreating recently, dragging the Nasdaq down in the process. That scenario reiterates a couple of double-edged swords regarding Apple. First, a lot of mutual funds and ETFs feature arguably excessive weights to Apple. That's great on the way up and bad on the way down. Second, a fair amount of other tech companies' fortunes are levered to Apple's because they are suppliers for hot products like the iPad and iPhone.
Looking at the ETF situation, Apple is the primary of driver of returns for the PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ: QQQ) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLK) where Apple receives allocations of 17.8% and 18.2%, respectively. While not an exact science, this is what Apple's nearly 9% gain on Wednesday meant for those ETFs: A 2.7% pop for QQQ and a 2.81% gain for XLK.
Apple reported a fiscal-second profit of $12.30 a share, up 92% from a year ago, on sales of $39.2 billion, higher by 59% while analysts expected Apple to earn $10.04 a share on sales of $36.81 billion. That means a lot of iPad and iPhones were sold and that's excellent news for Apple suppliers.
Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN), the company that develops the Siri speech software for the most recent generation of iPhone, added almost 3% post-Apple earnings. Zagg (NASDAQ: ZAGG), the maker of protective film coverings for electronic device whose market cap of $344.2 million is barely outside of micro-cap status, surged 7.5% on the Apple news. For less than $12 a share, Zagg certainly represents a cost-effective Apple derivative play.
Looking at more familiar stocks that are Apple suppliers, Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) added 2.3% on strong volume. Along with Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ: CRUS), which also surged after Apple's earnings, Qualcomm was highlighted in a Forbes on smart trades with which to play Apple's rebound.
Shares of semiconductor maker Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) added almost 6.1%. The case of Broadcom and Apple is significant because the former has shown an increasingly intimate correlation to the latter in the past month as both stocks have fallen. Investors can only hope the correlation remains on the upside. This much is clear: It's Apple's market and so goes Apple, so goes the market.