Put Away The Prozac, Apple's Just Fine
With $600 only one small leg higher and within a reasonable bullish move, we may finally hear the last of the dire predictions of a $400 Apple. While investors that did their homework knew it would take a black swan event to crush the shares down that far, it didn't seem to prevent many in the media from declaring Apple is all but dead.
Some of the hyperbole is understandable. It's hard to make sense of a market that places Amazon's (AMZN) share price above $200 while at the same time driving Apple's shares under $600.
For a few days, Apple's stock was on a big enough sale that the dividend rose to 2%. Never mind the fact that Apple produces products in demand enough to warrant incredibly high margins, once the snowball began rolling down the hill it gained in size and speed.
Amazon has so far offered little more than improving revenue. Revenue, it appears is enough if people like the company. Should revenue be enough? Of course not, but the line of thinking goes something like this: As soon as Amazon is finished building out the world's greatest online ordering system (something that has been in the works since before the dot com bubble), Amazon will be able to raise prices and or lower the capital investment, and profits will roll in.
Meanwhile, back at 1 Infinite Loop (Apple's address), iPhone 5s and iPad minis are selling as fast as the iFactories can produce and ship to the iBuyers. Apple has many other products including the Mac, iTunes, iPod, and others that are selling like gangbusters, but once again, it doesn't seem to make much difference to those who are quick to "inform" you of Apple's impending irrelevance.
For doomsayers it all makes perfect sense. Perfect sense if you consider operating margins above 30% and profit margins above 25% mean the end is near. You don't see margins like that in Dell (DELL) , Nokia (NOK) , and definitely, not in Amazon.
Dell's profit margin is near 5%, one fifth that of Apple. Nokia does not have a profit margin unless you count a negative number. Poor Amazon, the company as I have written is overvalued many times, displays a profit margin that makes Dell look good. Amazon's profit margin is less than 1% (negative based on last quarter's dismal results). Right, I know it's not dismal as long as you're willing to forget about that pesky term "return on equity."
Even with Apple's relatively large (more than 40% for those keeping track) return on equity, I will admit life as an Apple bull I was "partly cloudy" as I watched Apple break below the largely followed 200 day moving average. As if by magic, each price tick lower ushered in another in a string of bearish articles and I continued to scratch my head.