Tech Stocks This Week: Comcast Gets Slammed, Square Turns to Banking, and More

MarketsMotley Fool

This week, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) suffered its biggest one-day decline in six years, Square (NYSE: SQ) put in an application to create its own bank, and speculation surrounding Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) upcoming iPhone 8 continued to build. Here's what investors should know.

Comcast loses subscribers

Continue Reading Below

Comcast stock was hit hard on Thursday when a company executive warned that the cable company's video subscribers for its third quarter are expected to be down by about 100,000 to 150,000. Comcast blamed the headwind on Hurricane Harvey and fierce competition.

Comcast had informed investors of an unusually competitive environment in its most recent quarterly earnings call with analysts, blaming the heightened competition on 45,000 residential video-customer net losses during the quarter. Comcast Cable CEO David Watson explained (via a Reuters transcript) that video is "a very competitive environment, lots of new entrants coming in and doing different things."

Watson went on to explain that the company believes it's positioned well to compete, thanks to its X1 platform and a commitment to compete "vigorously" across all segments.

Comcast didn't specify how many of its expected subscriber losses are from the competitive environment and how many are from Hurricane Harvey.

Square wants to become a bank

During the week, mobile payments company Square reportedly put in an application to fund and launch a so-called "industrial loan" bank, or a banking entity with the flexibility to do more than just banking. The entity, which the Wall Street Journal reports would be called Square Financial Services Inc., would be Square's first bank. The bank would offer business loans and business deposit accounts, WSJ said.

Though Square already gives out business loans, it does so in a partnership with Celtic Bank. By having full ownership over a bank, Square may be able to more easily control and scale its existing loan business, which is proving to help deepen and expand customer relationships.

Square's current loan business, which it operates under its Square Capital brand, is thriving. Second-quarter loan volume was up 68% year over year, to $318 million.

Square's loans through square capital average just $6,000. "We're not competing with financial institutions," Square co-founder and CEO explained in the company's second-quarter earnings call. "We're creating a new market where previously the only other option for a seller was asking for a loan from friends or family."

But maybe Square wants to compete more directly with financial institutions now.

iPhone 8 pricing speculation mounts

Apple's annual fall launch event is almost here. On Tuesday, Apple executives will take the stage at the tech giant's new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino and unveil its latest products. Investors are expecting Apple's highly anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone and a new Apple Watch and Apple TV set-top box.

As the important product-launch event approaches, speculation about the iPhone 8's pricing kicked into high gear. For some time, the phone has been expected to be priced at around $1,000, and now, the well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a good reason why.

In a research note this week, he said that Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) monopoly on high-volume production of the upcoming flagship iPhone's rumored OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen is enabling them to charge Apple a significant premium for the screen. This could explain a rumored $1,000 price point for the entry-level version of the iPhone 8.

Of course, there are likely other factors impacting the price. The iPhone is also expected to be packed with new technology, including wireless charging, an improved camera, and a 3D face scanner. In addition, the phone's form factor is expected to be totally overhauled compared to previous iPhones.

Stay tuned at the Fool next week for a look at what Apple launches, and what the new products mean for investors.

10 stocks we like better than AppleWhen investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Apple wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of September 5, 2017

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.