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By Jason Stipp | 10-07-2011 03:00 PM

End of an Era?

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser on whether news this week signals new directions for companies, the economy, and the European debt crisis.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to the Friday Five.

There was momentous news in the market this week that left us, at times, feeling on the edge of a new era. Here with me to talk through the details is Morningstar markets editor, Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.

Stipp: So, what we have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well this week, we're going to talk about Steve Jobs, about mortgage rates, American Airlines, European central banks, and finally retail sales.

Stipp: So, there was momentous news this week in the market, and I think the most momentous, obviously, was the death of Steve Jobs at 56, co-founder of Apple. Is this going to be a new era for Apple?

Glaser: Well, I think, in a lot of ways, the new era for Apple happened when Steve Jobs stepped down from the CEO role in late August and handed the reins over to Tim Cook. And I think that Apple really is going to be a different place without Steve Jobs.

I talked with our Apple analyst Michael Holt about this, and he said that Jobs is really an irreplaceable figure. You can't find somebody who is going to have that kind of vision and really authority in a lot of ways to make big design choices and to push the company in the right direction. But at the same time, he really has built up that economic moat within Apple, so that they'll still be able to execute at a very high level.

They've built this great ecosystem that lots of people who use iPods and iPhones and iPads are kind of locked into right now. There are lots of products that he's probably personally approved in the pipeline for a few years, and we think that Tim Cook is really a very able operator, very able executive, who'll be able to continue to put new products into that pipeline.

So, will things be quite as smooth as they had been for the last 10 years of seeming unbroken successes? Probably not. But I think for Apple, it's certainly a different era, but probably one that is still very prosperous for them.

Stipp: Jeremy, in economic news, we learned this week that I could go out and get a 30-year mortgage for rates under 4%. This is something that I don't know if it has happened anytime, but it certainly seems like a momentous time to go out and buy a mortgage. But what does this news imply?

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