Summary: The U.S. dollar hit a fresh 14-month peak and let some air out of the stock market rally; Apple shares fall after watch, payments and larger-screen iPhones; McDonald's in global sales slump. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Apple is grabbing headlines, but the dollar is making waves. The U.S. currency flies to another 14-month high. Investors bet the outlook for the U.S. economy is better than that of its trading partners. The dollar also benefitting from a regional Federal Reserve report suggesting the Fed's first rate hike could not be as far off as some investors think, and as Brazil gets its debt rating outlook cut to negative by Moody's. George Pearkes, an analyst with Bespoke Investment Group, says a stronger dollar will present negative headwinds for segments of the economy. SOUNDBITE: GEORGE PEARKES, ANALYST, BESPOKE INVESTMENT GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A lot of the capital intensive industrial type names and large consumer conglomerates are just not going to do well in a high dollar environment because they depend very heavily on the rest of the world for their revenues, as their revenues go down, they are not going to make as much net profits." A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for non-dollar buyers, but oil prices bouncing off one of the lowest points of the year on speculation OPEC may cut supplies. As for the stock market: Wall Street had its biggest one-day drop in a month. On to corporate news and, of course, Apple. If you are fan, then you'll be pleased to hear Apple is jumping into the phablet market with a 5-1/2 inch iPhone 6 plus and then there's the traditional iPhone 6 with 4.7-inch screen - both available before the month is out. Apple Watch was unveiled to little fanfare, but you still need one of the newer model phones to use it. But Apple Pay - an entry into the mobile payments market - was the star, briefly sending the stock to $103 before giving back all those gains. Shares of eBay, parent of PayPal, down almost three percent on coming competition in mobile payments. Sales at McDonald's locations opened more than a year fell in every region last month. Mickey D's hasn't seen a rise in same-store sales in the U.S. since October last year. Changing tastes continue to drive customers elsewhere. Shares of McDonald's touching a 20-month low after issuing a third-quarter profit warning. Home Depot confirms its payment security system was breached and analysts warn the scale of the data theft could be bigger than Target's last year. Shares of Home Depot losing two percent on the confirmation. European shares posting minor losses across the board.