Apple Inc. (AAPL) Patent Filed So That Users Can Pay Friends Via iMessage

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Many analysts already feel that Apple Pay could eventually be a huge contributor to Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) top and bottom lines, but a recent patent filing may make such an arguement even stronger. According to a patent filed this month by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the company seems to be interested in integrating payments within their popular iMessage text messaging platform. In fact, the payment features could be built into several popular Apple applications if they so desire.

The patent shows an exmaple where two iMessage users are texting, as one asks the other to pay him/her back for lunch. The other user is able to click the ‘Make Payment’ button at the top of the iMessage screen and quickly send funds over to the other. While this seems like something that Apple could certainly have in the works, the company has filed hundreds of patents over the last several years and a bulk of them have never been put into use.

The stock is down 1.54% or $1.66 following the news, hitting $105.66 per share. Approximately 18.15 million shares traded hands. AAPL shares have declined 18.56% since May 28, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 16.44%.

From a total of 30 analysts covering Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, 27 rate it a “Buy”, 0 a “Sell”, and 3 a “Hold”. This means that 90% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $200 while the lowest target price is $125. The mean of all analyst targets is $147.93 which is 40.01% above today’s ($105.66) stock price. Apple Inc. was the topic of 96 analyst reports since July 21, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Stifel Nicolaus maintained shares on December 23 with a “Buy” rating. Barclays Capital maintained shares with a”Overweight” rating and a $150 target share price in their report from a December 14. Cowen & Co maintained AAPL stock in a recent report from December 22 with a “Market Perform” rating. BMO Capital Markets initiated the rating on December 11. BMO Capital Markets has a “Outperform” rating and a $145 price target on shares. Finally, UBS maintained the stock with a “Buy” rating in a report they issued on a December 16.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.18 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.22, from 0.96 in 2015Q2. The ratio improved, as 103 funds sold all their Apple Inc. shares they owned while 854 reduced their positions. 102 funds bought stakes while 1032 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 3.20 billion shares which is 1.58% less than the previous share count of 3.25 billion in 2015Q2.

Compton Capital Management Inc Ri holds 45.15% of its total portfolio in Apple Inc., equating to 113,694 shares. Raiff Partners Inc owns 100,000 shares representing 32.27% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Rfg Advisory Group Llc has 25.06% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 70,558 shares. The New York-based Independent Investors Inc has a total of 23.66% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Dock Street Asset Management Inc, a Connecticut-based fund reported 269,584 shares owned.

Since March 6, 2015, the stock had 0 insider purchases, and 7 insider sales for a total of $17.48 million in net activity. Maestri Luca sold 2,908 shares worth $325,347. Williams Jeffrey E sold 46,873 shares worth $5.18 million. Riccio Daniel J. sold 24,085 shares worth $3.01 million. Ahrendts Angela J sold 44,789 shares worth $5.90 million. The insider Levinson Arthur D sold 70,000 shares worth $9.20M.

Apple Inc. designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The company has a market cap of $597.11 billion. The Company’s services and products include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings. It has 11.49 P/E ratio. The Firm also delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App StoreSM, iBookstoreSM, and Mac App Store.

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