Dow Jones Little Changed as Walmart Launches Fintech Startup, Apple’s iPhone 12 Sells Well in China

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was little changed at 1:45 p.m. EST Tuesday, up just 0.1%, as the U.S. grapples with a highly uncertain situation in Washington and a pandemic that remains out of control. The House is planning to vote on the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his role in last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol just days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Meanwhile, daily deaths attributed to COVID-19 are averaging higher than during the first peak of the pandemic in April.

Turning to individual stocks, shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) were up on Tuesday after the retailer announced it was launching a fintech start-up, while shares of tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell despite indications of strong iPhone 12 sales in China.


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Walmart creates fintech start-up

Retail juggernaut Walmart announced late Monday that it had teamed with fintech investment company Ribbit Capital to create a new fintech . The start-up, which will be majority owned by Walmart, will aim to “deliver tech-driven financial experiences tailored to Walmart’s customers and associates.”

The board of directors for the start-up will include Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner, Walmart CFO Brett Biggs, and Ribbit Capital managing partner Meyer Malka. The plan is to add industry experts to the board and recruit a management team with experience in the fintech industry. Partnerships and acquisitions with leading fintech companies could be in the cards to drive growth.

Ribbit Capital is involved with some of the highest-profile fintech companies around, including stock trading app Robinhood, Credit Karma, and Affirm. Walmart’s start-up will be able to leverage the relationships the retailer already has with millions of customers, including those who’ve started using the company’s online grocery services during the pandemic.

Walmart recently rolled out its Walmart+ subscription service, which provides free same-day delivery of groceries and select general merchandise with a $35 order, as well as free shipping from with no minimum. Walmart+ has likely gained Walmart some customers who don’t normally shop at Walmart; the fintech effort may have a similar effect.

Shares of Walmart were up 1.7% by early Tuesday afternoon. The stock has jumped about 28% over the past year as the pandemic drove shoppers to use Walmart’s various e-commerce services.

Apple’s iPhone 12 does well in China

Digitimes reported on Tuesday that Apple’s iPhone 12 family has performed ahead of expectations in China during the fourth quarter of 2020, racking up sales of 18 million units. That’s good for a 20% market share. Digitimes pulled these figures from data available from local media in China.

Apple’s smartphone market share in China has ranged from the mid single digits to as high as 14% over the past year and a half, according to Counterpoint Research. The company faces intense competition from Chinese smartphone vendors, making it difficult for Apple to achieve anything close to the dominance it enjoys in the United States.

A 20% market share is an improvement, but it makes sense that Apple’s market share would spike immediately following a product launch. Some of these gains will likely be undone when Chinese rivals launch new products of their own. It will take multiple quarters to see if Apple’s market-share gains are here to stay.

Shares of Apple were down about 0.6% by early Tuesday afternoon. The stock rocketed higher in 2020, pushing Apple’s valuation to historically high levels. It may take more than strong sales in China to keep the stock moving higher this year.

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