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Apple to air original movies, EPA guts Fiat Chrysler, and more

Written By | Jan 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, January 12, 2017 – A Thursday release from the MT News Wire (no link available) hints that Apple (symbol: AAPL) is moving closer to becoming more of an entertainment and media company:

“Apple (AAPL) was lower in pre-market trade Thursday, while the Wall Street Journal reported the company “is planning to build a significant new business in original television shows and movies”.

“Citing people familiar with the matter, the report said Apple has been in talks with producers about buying rights to scripted television programs, as well as with studio and network marketing execs to discuss hiring them to promote its content.

‘Executives at Apple have told people in Hollywood they hope to start offering original scripted content by the end of 2017,’ the report added.”

The Wall Street Journal adds considerable information to the story:

“Apple Inc. is planning to build a significant new business in original television shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could make it a bigger player in Hollywood and offset slowing sales of iPhones and iPads.

“These people said the programming would be available to subscribers of Apple’s $10-a-month streaming-music service, which has struggled to catch up to the larger Spotify AB. Apple Music already includes a limited number of documentary-style segments on musicians, but nothing like the premium programming it is now seeking.

“The technology giant has been in talks with veteran producers in recent months about buying rights to scripted television programs. It also has approached experienced marketing executives at studios and networks to discuss hiring them to promote its content, said people with knowledge of the discussions.”

WSJ speculates that in the short run, this means that Apple is choosing to intensify its ongoing entertainment battle, which, among other things, has involved a serious duel between the owner of Apple Music and direct rival Spotify.

(The link to the WSJ story is here, but much of the paper’s online content is behind a paywall and you may not be able to access the whole story.)

Read also: Traders, investors find DC’s political idiocy hard to ignore

Elsewhere, in not-so-good news for investors in auto stocks, CNBC reports

“Shares of Fiat Chrysler [FCAU] fell more than 13 percent on Thursday after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused the automaker of using software that allowed excess diesel emissions in about 104,000 vehicles.

“The U.S.-listed shares of Fiat Chrysler plunged as much as 18 percent Thursday after Reuters first reported the news. The automaker’s stock was briefly halted after the EPA made the announcement.

“The agency alleged Fiat Chrysler violated the Clean Air Act by installing and failing to disclose ‘engine management software in light-duty model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the United States.’”

With regard to markets in general, Wednesday’s weakness continues today. Stocks are sinking across a broad spectrum of issues, although as of 1:30 p.m. ET, averages have erased about 50 percent of earlier losses. All three major averages—the Dow, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ—are off between 0.33-0.5 percent as we write this, though that’s no guarantee that stocks will recover as the afternoon action unfolds.

The attitude toward our portfolios, through at least Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017) is watchful waiting. As long as Washington Democrats, Hollywood showboaters and the thoroughly discredited, onetime mainstream media talking heads continue to wage the biggest American political temper tantrum since the Civil War against the incoming Trump Administration, markets are likely to remain nervous, while America’s voters—particularly Trump supporters—will only intensify their support of Trump.

Maybe it’s time for the sore losers to get back to doing their jobs, though at this point, that seems to much to ask of these aging adolescents. But until things settle down, Wall Street won’t settle down and get back to business either.

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17