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Apple Joins A.I. Race; Lilly Thumbs-Up on Alzheimer's Drug

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Monday, June 10th, 2024

Major market indices all finished in the green today. After each starting the regular trading session in the red, the Dow climbed modestly, +0.18%, the S&P 500 +0.26%, the Nasdaq +0.33% and the small-cap Russell 2000 +0.30%. For the S&P’s part, it has now notched another all-time closing high, to 5360. The index is now up +13% year to date, trailing only the Nasdaq, which is +16%. (The Dow is +3% from the start of the year, while the Russell strives to reach +1%.

In Cupertino, CA today, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) conspicuously entered the A.I. space. At today’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the world’s largest gadget manufacturer unveiled a series of product upgrades — most notably those with A.I. capabilities. Of all “Magnificent 7” stocks that broke away from the trading field, only Apple was relatively mum on what it planned for A.I. usefulness. As of today, consider this period over.

Once mention was Apple’s new deal made with OpenAI. This will help allow the latter’s wide-range of services in artificial intelligence join together with Apple products like iPhones, iPads, Vision Pro (Apple’s first 3D camera), Apple Watch and Mac. All of these products are transforming with updated operating systems (OS), including iOS 18 (including satellite messaging for iPhone models 14 and up), WatchOS 11 (including training and visuals), and iPadOS and MacOS Sequoia (both of which will be made available later this year). Vision Pro will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK on July 12.

Apple’s Siri function will also have a new wrinkle. Whereas iPhone users had grown accustomed over the past few years asking Siri direct questions, a new development with ChatGPT will allow users to hold conversations with Siri using their devices. Considering how many Apple products there are out there in the world at this time, a high number of them will soon be accessing A.I. from an Apple device. Perhaps this huge advantage allowed Apple to find its way into the A.I. space at its own comfort level.

Unfortunately for shareholders, Apple stock was down today. For all the promise the WWDC’s unveiling holds, there was nothing particularly surprising about any of these developments. Apple shares were -2% — the worst performer on the Dow today — and cuts into its relatively weak +4.5% gains year to date, and +5.5% from this time last year. Pulling out focus to a wider horizon, we can see Apple has earned +53% over the past three years, and +302% over the past five years.

Elsewhere, Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY - Free Report) got some good news. Its drug candidate to treat Alzheimer’s disease, donanemab, was proven effective in slowing the progression of age-related dementia caused by Alzheimer’s by one-third, based on brain imaging tests. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will now vote on the safety of the drug, passage of which may make it the second drug onto the market to treat the mentally debilitating disease, after Eisai and Biogen’s (BIIB - Free Report) Leqembi.

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