After gaining nearly 40% in 2014, Apple’s shares dropped from nearly $112 down to almost $105 in the new year’s first week of trading, despite strong sales data and virtually nonexistent competition from its main rivals throughout the holiday quarter. However, those losses were dramatically reversed today as the company’s stock rapidly changed course, gaining back all negative ground for the year and netting a slight positive from 2015’s opening day last Friday.
Apple is expected to continue to make strong gains in 2015 off of strong iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, a revamped iPad, the new Apple Watch and Apple Pay, and revamped Mac sales. Apple Pay, which was released in November in the United States, is rumored to be launched internationally in March, starting in Canada before spreading to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and India. A release in the beginning of the year would coincide nicely with the release of the Apple Watch, which can be used together.
The company is aggressively expanding its office space, data centers, retail stores and other facilities globally, particularly in China where Apple plans to open 25 new retail stores over the next two years. Apple recently opened a new store in Henan Province, the first in central China, bringing the number of Apple stores on the Chinese mainland to 13. Earlier this month, a report from investment banking firm UBS showed strong demand for Apple’s latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus smartphones had helped the Chinese market outsell the United States for the first time. iPhone demand saw outsized growth in China and China could constitute as much as 35 percent of shipments in the last quarter of 2014, higher than the 24% ratio of the U.S. market.