Apple is three-quarters to previously-unthinkable all-time world record
Although it is well-known that Apple is the world's most profitable and most highly-valued publicly-traded company, most of the public and even many investors are unaware that its market valuation of nearly $750 billion now puts it 75 percent of the way to world record that has been a dream of investors for decades: the world's first company valued at $1 trillion. A Virginia-based investment bank now believes Apple will reach that goal by 2016.
Investment firms believe Apple sold well north of 54 million units
Two investment analyst firms, Barclays Capital and UBS, have issued their first predictions on the number of iPhones Apple is likely to sell in its fiscal second quarter, which concludes at the end of March. The firms disagree on the exact number of units, but are within 10 percent of each other, ranging from 54 million to 58 million units. UBS' Evidence Lab is predicting higher numbers, but Wall Street estimates remain conservative.
Current boost to stock may render estimates irrelevant even as they are published
A number of analysts revised their expectations for Apple's stock last week -- only to watch those year-end estimates melt in the face of the stock's current performance, which ended trading on Monday at yet another all-time high of $133 per share. The combination of much better-than-expected sales in the holiday quarter and the increasing interest in Apple's other initiatives -- ranging from Apple Pay to forthcoming products like the Apple Watch and a possible-but-far-off car design -- has sent the stock skyrocketing.
Company still riding streak from record iPhone, Mac sales
In what has now started to become a routine occurrence, AAPL on Friday ended the week with a new all-time record high for its stock, as well as its market capitalization. The stock closed on Friday at a price of $129.49 per share, though it is down a nickel in after-hours trading at the time of this article. The market cap for the company now stands at $754.28 billion after the stock rose 0.81 percent on the day, compared to $710 billion just 10 days ago.
JP Morgan, Piper Jaffray, Icahn all call for higher targets in 2015
Thanks to both the recent record-shattering performance of the company as well as known forthcoming debuts, a number of analysts have recently revised their target goals for Apple stock. While pundits are clearly guessing on things like how well the Apple Watch or the next iPad revision will sell, the solid performance of the iPhone, rising Mac sales, and success of other foundational technologies give the company a likely bright future for 2015.
Company now closing in on $700 billion in value
Apple's stock closed on Wednesday at a new all-time high, closing at $119.56 for the day, breaking the record set on November 26 when it closed at $119 even. The company, now valued at $696.41 billion -- more than a third more than the next most valuable publicly-traded company -- recently reported the best all-time quarterly revenue and profit of any company ever. The latest peak comes after a spike a week ago, following the results of the quarter.
Now taking two-thirds of mobile payments; cash grows despite payouts
If you are making a contactless mobile payment in the US based on a Visa, MasterCard or American Express account, odds are that you're doing it from an iPhone 6 model. During the conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company's Apple Pay mobile payments system -- only in its fourth month -- now accounts for more than $2 of every $3 of money paid in that manner. In addition, CFO Luca Maestri updated analysts on the still-growing (but more slowly) cash stockpile Apple has, now at $178 billion.
Strength of iPhone 6 demand, Apple Watch predictions to fuel growth, analysts say
Two leading investment and analysis firms have joined with others in raising AAPL target prices recently, in part because the stock has already outperformed most expectations on its most recent bull run. Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray has raised his target from $120 to $135 on the strength of iPhone 6 demand, while Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised her view to $126 per share from the previous $115, which the stock has already surpassed. The two join a growing list of AAPL bulls.
Record falls even taking into account split, buyback programs
Apple on Friday ended the week with a new all-time record high for its stock, even taking into account the huge swing in the number of outstanding shares, which has changed significantly in the past two years. Last reaching its peak in September of 2012, the company has now broken its record for both its stock price and its highest-ever market capitalization, which now stands at $669.65 billion, with the stock still rising in after-hours trading from its Friday close of $114.18 per share.
Split, buyback program makes true all-time high price a moving target
Apple's stock closed at a new "all-time" high today, settling at $109.70 per share after an intra-day high of $109.75 -- breaking the record set just over a week ago. The company, now valued at $643.37 billion -- more than a third more than the next most valuable publicly-traded company -- may be within sight of besting its own split- and buyback-adjusted all-time high and market capitalization records, which would currently be around $113.86 per share and $667.77 billion, respectively.
Stock is up nearly 35 percent for 2014, has reduced outstanding shares by 800M
Shareholders of record in AAPL as of November 6 will receive a dividend of 47 cents per share once again in the second dispersal of revenue since the stock was split 7-to-1 last June. The company will pay out some $2.75 billion in dividends on 5.866 billion outstanding shares -- about 800 million fewer shares than seen before the aggressive share buyback program started last year. The stock closed the week at an all-time record high of $108 per share for the second week running.
Icahn endorsement, strong iPhone sales, coming holiday behind push
Apple's stock on Thursday hit a new all-time closing high, reaching $104.83 per share at the closing bell. While many are waiting to see if the company can close the week at that level or higher, others -- including activist investor Carl Icahn and CEO Tim Cook -- believe the stock remains undervalued. AAPL also set a new intra-day high of $105.05 during trading, and is up slightly from its close at this writing in after-hours trading. Stronger-than-expected iPhone numbers and the coming holiday season has helped fuel the rise.
Now at $45 billion in buybacks for the year, double its 2013 buying spree
During its conference call to analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that the company had spent $17 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter on further stock buybacks, the largest amount since the March quarter and bringing the total spent across the fiscal year to $45 billion. About half of the money was spent buying shares on the open market rather than through banking partners, an unusual move for a large corporation. The stock came close to another record high on Tuesday, but has yet to crack its $110 all-time (adjusted for both splits and buybacks) share high.
Demand for larger sizes, increase average selling price drive analyst interest
Apple is not the only company that believes the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not only drive a bigger upgrade cycle, but also bring at least some switchers from the Android platform. Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra has reiterated his "overweight" rating for AAPL and raised the price target to $125, along with encouraging investors to buy the stock in a new memo to clients. He also published optimistic estimates for both the September and December quarters in terms of iPhone sales.
'Bendghazi' controversy not phasing sales, swift refutation by Apple credited
After falling four percent on Thursday, Apple's stock closed out the week by bouncing back and regaining more than half the drop as Wall Street reacted positively to the company's refutation of the "bending" controversy. Some new questions are being raised about the original video that started the kerfuffle, as careful observation reveals that the video was edited (and the reported noted in the video that his iPhone 6 was already slightly bent before demonstrating the flaw). Investment firms Stifel Nicolaus and BMO Capital Markets have both raised their target prices for AAPL.
Cantor Fitzgerald, Piper Jaffray push expections to $120 and beyond
The long-awaited but finally-approaching arrival of larger-screen iPhone models and Apple's probable entries into health, home automation and mobile payments have some Wall Street analysts believing Apple's oft-repeated mantra that its forthcoming product and services pipeline is the strongest the company has had in years, if not ever. In new notes to clients, both Cantor Fitzgerald and Piper Jaffray have raised targets for AAPL to new all-time highs.
Compelling endorsement from Morgan Stanley may encourage buyers
Apple's stock closed on Tuesday with a new 52-week high, and at one point in the day threatened to top its all-time highest stock price (based on straight split-adjustment). It officially closed at $100.53, not far from its all-time split-adjusted high of $100.72, though it hit $100.68 in intra-day trading. The company's valuation also rose to a market cap of $602 billion.
Analyst talks of iOS 'everywhere,' Cook's bold strategies
Six weeks after it rebutted a New York Times editorial that cast doubt on Apple's CEO, investment firm UBS has again praised Tim Cook's vision and leadership of Apple in a note to clients. In particular, analyst Steven Milunovich was taken with Cook's plans to expand iOS to automotive, gym, medical and home markets through its CarPlay, HealthKit and HomeKit initiatives, as well as the continuing growth of the entire OS X and iOS eco-systems, which the company refers to as "the Applesphere."
Expects 'busy fall' with new iPhone, long-awaited 'iWatch' debuts
Despite some disappointments in Apple's latest quarterly earnings report, analysts appear to be satisfied that the company's overall financial picture is in order, particularly on the strength of rising margins and strong developing market sales. The stock closed up $2.47 on Tuesday (an increase of 2.61 percent) to close at $97.19, not far from its 52-week high. On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets raised its year-end target price to $110, joining Barclays and Morgan Stanley in predicting the company would hit an all-time high this year.
Expected 'iWatch' acceptance, customer loyalty, new iPhone, strong management all factors
On the same day as Apple's stock hit a 52-week high, closing at $96.43 per share on Monday, two major brokerage houses have upped their predictions for year-end AAPL prices to $110, which would put the stock past its best-ever performance, even adjusted for the number of additional shares created. Morgan Stanley credited strong customer loyalty which will in turn drives initial sales of the long-rumored "iWatch," while Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes expresses new confidence in Apple management.
More carriers, more countries to carry iPhone sales in June, leading to new models for holidays
At least some Wall Street analysts believe that Apple may have found a way to do well in the traditionally-slower summer months leading up the reveal of the next iPhone, expected sometime this fall. Maynard Um of Wells Fargo believes that Apple may be in a position to set an all-time record for June quarterly sales in its next report , predicting the company has sold some 36.5 million smartphones by opening up new markets. Meanwhile, Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra looks to a spectacular holiday season.
Pundits' expectations for 'iPhone 6' models fuel upbeat speculation
Analyst Charlie Wolf of investment firm Needham has taken the unusual step of breaking his twice-yearly cycle of AAPL price target updates, revising a forecast announced back before the most recent stock split that has remained "underwater" -- below the trading price -- since well before the split occurred. Wolf's previous guess of $590 (or a split-adjusted $86.32), issued back in February, has now been upgraded to a conservative $97 target. Other analysts have also raised their estimates for the company recently.
Believes 2014 iPhone will do well in larger sizes, new products still to come
Nearly a working week after AAPL began trading on a split-adjusted basis, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani notified his clients that he has adjusted his price target for the stock from $96 to $100 per share. He stopped short of predicting the company would break its all-time high of (adjusted) $100.72, which it achieved in September of 2012. The stock declined slightly on Thursday, and is now $8.44 away from breaking that record -- a feat many analysts predict will happen this year.
Price may be rising on WWDC speculation rather than split
As anticipation builds ahead of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for possible new product announcements, Apple's stock has been concurrently rising ahead of a seven-to-one stock split, fuelling investor interest. On Tuesday, AAPL rose to a 52-week high, closing at $625.71 -- a rise of $11.58 from Monday's close.
Aggressive reinvestment plan, expected new products resonating
As of the closing bell on Monday, Apple's stock exceeded $600 for the first time since October 26, 2012, setting a new 52-week high for the company and rising further in after-hours trading. The stock closed at $600.96 for the day and presently stands at $602.21 in the after-hours market. Apple's aggressive changes in share buyback, increasing dividends, an upcoming 7:1 stock split and expected new products coming later this year have combined to make the stock attractive again.
Shares up $70 since announcements of expanded buybacks, more
Apple's stock closed on Monday at a year-to-date high-water mark, closing in on $600 as the repeated message of last week's earnings call -- Tim Cook's "we believe the stock to be undervalued" mantra -- appeared to sink in on the back of better-than-expected iPhone sales, an expansion of the stock buyback program and an announced 7-to-1 stock split taking place next month. The stock has jumped almost exactly $70 since last Thursday.
Dividends also to go up on an annual basis in moves to increase stock value
In a surprise announcement, Apple will do a 7:1 stock split on June 6, giving stockholders of record as of June 2 an additional six shares for every one share of stock they currently hold. Trading will resume on June 9 at the split-adjusted price, which CEO Tim Cook has said the company wants to be more affordable so that smaller investors can get into the stock. Given today's closing price of $524.75, the average price of a share would drop to $75 if the split were happening now.
Company likely to announce adjusted policies during next earnings call
Tech analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has told investors in a new memo that he expects "moderate" increases in both Apple's share-buyback program and its dividend to shareholders, likely to be announced during the company's next earnings call, scheduled for April 23. This belief, he noted, is already "priced into" shares of AAPL and is unlikely to take price any higher in and of itself. The current quarterly dividend, raised last year, is $3.05 per common share.
Ignores developing markets, or Apple's other products
There is a tendency among analysts to think of Apple as only "the iPhone maker" and ignore its other products and services, feeling that the fortunes of its most popular and profitable product -- the iPhone -- is the key to the company's overall health, at least in terms of its performance on Wall Street. Barclay's analyst Ben Reitzes told investors in a memo on Thursday that he expects AAPL to stay within a narrow range for the next two years.
Cook eager to show investors that company is confident in future
Just two weeks after it reported its fiscal Q1 2014 results -- which set records in many areas but disappointed iPhone-focused investors -- Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed in an interview that the company has repurchased another $14 billion of its own stock , on top of over $40 billion spent on buybacks over the past year. Some $12 billion of the new purchase was part of the regular buyback program, with another $2 billion bought separately on the open market.
Icahn, CalPERS at odds over buyback strategy ahead of shareholders' meeting
The close of the market today, which saw Apple's stock rise $3.80 to close at $512.59, marked the beginning of the company's "ex-dividend" period, where no new trades of AAPL will be included in dividend calculations. Shareholders of record will receive $3.05 per share beginning Thursday, February 13, with the annual shareholders' meeting scheduled to take place two weeks later. The question of how Apple manages its enormous cash hoard has become something of a public spat between two large-volume investors, Carl Icahn and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).
Cook tied his reward more closely with stock performance over company performance
A move made by Apple CEO Tim Cook and the board of directors at Apple has ended up costing Cook some $4 million in additional bonuses over the previous arrangement, according to proxy statements filed by the company over the weekend. Cook annually receives a stock grant, but because AAPL didn't outperform the overall S&P500 average to which the award is tied, Cook lost about half of the grant, which would currently be worth about $4 million.
Stock's recent rise reflects expectations for record quarter
Apple's stock finally surpassed its previous 2013 high on Friday, beating the $549.03 mark to close at $556.07. The former high mark came on January 2, reflecting a year that saw the company doing brisk business in revenues, but penalized by Wall Street for lacking any category-redefining product or service, and being slow to update existing products. The perception -- not wholly accurate -- that Apple was losing influence and marketshare also played a role.
David Miller brought down his employer, still faces civil lawsuit
A former stock trader who bankrupted his former employer in a bet on Apple stock that went bad, and who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy in a plea deal, has been sentenced to prison for his crimes - for one-tenth of the maximum time he faced. David Miller, 41, will serve 30 months in prison for his scheme to buy more than 1,000 times the amount of AAPL a customer ordered, on the same day that Apple was to announce its third-quarter revenues in 2012. He planned to sell the excess stock when the price rose, and pocket the difference for himself.
Nearly $3 billion 'returned' to shareholders in latest payout
If you held any AAPL stock as of last Wednesday, your account is going to get a little boost tomorrow. Apple will be paying $3.05 per share to "shareholders of record" as of November 6 in the latest quarterly dividend, which arrives tomorrow and totals nearly $3 billion, a 15 percent rise from the year-ago quarter. While the amount Apple has paid out has gone up over the last few quarters, the company has actually saved billions in stock buybacks.
Google still king of mutual funds; upcoming iOS launches deemed key
On top of the long-awaited upward trend in AAPL in recent weeks, hedge-fund investors have begun returning to Apple for investments as well -- a positive sign for continued stock growth. Apple's stock is now once again the most-held stock among hedge fund investors, though Google continues to be the most popular stock with mutual-fund investors. Google was briefly the top pick among both groups of investors last March.
Investors like idea of bigger buyback, possibly imminent iPhone release
Apple's stock closed above $500 on Friday, continuing a recent rally that began after investor Carl Icahn revealed both an interest in having Apple buy back more of its own stock as well as his holding of a "very large" position in the company, which he said was "undervalued." His comments, alongside further legal wins, upcoming product releases and other general good news for the company, has seen the stock rise from $393.78 per share in late June to close at $502.33 today. It is continuing its gains in after-hours trading.
Stock surge in anticipation of fall products pushes AAPL back up
Though things could change again tomorrow, Apple on Thursday once again became the world's most valuable publicly-traded company by market cap, rising $4.15 (nearly a percentage point) to close at $456.68 per share (and still rising in after-hours trading, currently at $457.65). With a value approaching $415 billion, the company re-took the crown from Exxon Mobil, which fell by a dollar after a bad earnings report and lowered its overall market cap to $412 billion. AAPL has risen almost $50 over the past month, but is still off its 2013 high of $549.03 per share.
Board members Drexler, Campbell follow in Oppenheimer's footsteps
Less than a week after Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer sold some of his AAPL holdings to the tune of $16.4 million, two other members of Apple's board have let go of smaller amounts of stock, grossing a total of $19 million before taxes in recent days. Long-standing board member and J. Crew CEO Millard Drexler sold 32,562 shares in the company (gaining $14.6 million) while Intuit Chairman William Campbell sold 10,000 shares for a gross gain of $4.4 million. Both men sold shares awarded to them from their director stock options.
Cook trip to China, Greenlight holdings may help buoy stock
Though both the S&P and Dow Jones averages rose little on Tuesday, Apple stock rose 1.2 percent to close at $453.32 -- the first time the stock has closed over $450 since mid-May, and on the heels of the revelation that Apple CEO Tim Cook is again in China, talking to current partners and possibly trying to break the logjam that has kept the iPhone out of China's largest carrier, China Mobile. This is Cook's third trip to China since becoming CEO, with all the trips centered on boosting iPhone sales in the region.
Rogue broker ruins own firm, defrauds another in bad bet
David Miller, a former stock trader who brought down his employer in a bet on Apple stock, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy in a plea deal reached with prosecutors. The incident began when Miller improperly bought 1,000 times the number of shares requested by a customer, expecting Apple's stock price to rise and then selling off the excess stock and pocketing the profit before the fraud was noticed. He had been facing up to 25 years in prison for the fraud, but instead will likely see a five-to-eight year sentence.
Pundits fear competition, productions issues hurting Apple
On Friday, AAPL closed the week by dropping nearly $11 to $430.87, its lowest point since January 2012. The stock has now lost nearly 40 percent from its all-time high of $705 a share, and despite healthy sales forecasts and a string of better news for the company, including the dropping of David Einhorn's "silly sideshow" lawsuit over the issuing of preferred stock. The falling price comes in the face of Wall Street managing to eek out a tiny gain for the day, in spite of news that congressional leaders are unable to avoid the so-called "sequestration" crisis.
Suggests that analysts don't have full picture, rely on bad info
Both CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer took time in today's conference call with analysts to specifically (or by inference) debunk a number of recent rumours about the company, and to suggest to analysts that they rely too heavily on bad information -- and that even when they do get a bit of gossip that turns out to be true, they are unable to see the information in the broader context, which may change its interpretation. It was a rare direct assault on the market-manipulation and other forces that have plagued the company and its stock.
See consensus-beating iPhone sales as likely
Reinforcing the notion that some of Apple's recent stock-price tumble may be down to call options timing and manipulations of the media meant to keep the price low, two prominent investment houses have painted a bright picture for the company based on the expectation that Apple will be able to beat consensus estimates on its flagship iPhone sales. One firm has raised year-end targets on the stock to a staggering $1,111 -- more than double the current price.
Institutional buyers, others may have a fix in against AAPL
In the wake of considerable media backlash over a highly-questionable Wall Street Journal story claiming that Apple had cut back orders on iPhone parts to "half" previous levels -- a claim now clearly shown to be inaccurate -- AAPL has dropped to its lowest price in nine months, closing on Tuesday at $485.92 (though it is up to almost $490 in after-hours trading). Evidence has now emerged that some investors may be deliberately trying to suppress the stock.
China worries, 'fiscal cliff' drive stock down in Q4
Apple finished the calendar year in 2012 with a strong lineup of holiday products, including a (wisely, as it turned out) refreshed iPad lineup that became the top-selling tech gift of the year. From a stock perspective, the last three months have been tumultuous for investors, however even with the recent drop of 27 percent, the company finished the year with a nearly 30 percent gain and is still the most valuable traded company in the world.
China Mobile issues, sales slowdown rumors behind fall
Apple's stock took an unexpected beating in the market on Wednesday, losing 6.43 percent of its value and shedding some $35 billion in market capitalization after the worst single-day drop in price in almost four years. AAPL lost just over $37 per share on a combination of worries, rumors and unsubstantiated reports. The loss was so dramatic that it accounted for the whole of NASDAQ's 1.1 percent drop for the day, even while the Dow and other indexes rose slightly. The iPad maker is now hovering just over $508 billion in valuation.
Cash-in plan backfires, leaves company with heavy losses
A now-fired broker at Rochdale Securities tried to quickly cash in on a stock windfall generated by Apple's earning announcements, but ended up costing his employer millions and has been arrested and charged with fraud. David Miller's scheme was roiled when AAPL fell instead of rose on the company's record-breaking quarter, due to a slip in expected iPad growth. It is charged that he improperly bought 1,000 times the number of shares requested by a customer, planning to dump the excess and pocket the profit when the price went up.
Capital gains taxes scheduled to go up next year
Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue has become the latest executive to dispose of a significant quantity of AAPL stock, according to a filing at the SEC. Cue has sold off nearly all of his shares (though he will be receiving more soon) to the tune of $8.76 million, parting with 15,000 shares and holding (albeit temporarily) just 285 shares presently. Like a number of other Apple executives, Cue is likely selling the shares to avoid a almost-certain rise in the rate of capital-gains taxation taking effect in January.
Donates a portion of sale to charity
The Vice President of Hardware Engineering for Apple, Dan Riccio, has sold over 20,000 shares of Apple stock he had accumulated over the years, netting the executive nearly $11 million in total, though around $525,000 of it has been set aside as a charitable donation. Including that gift, the total value of the 19,726 shares sold is approximately $10.73 million, minus any applicable taxes. Riccio replaced the formerly-retiring Bob Mansfield as head of hardware engineering, with Mansfield returning to the company to head up a new "Technologies" group.