First some Apple (AAPL) stats:
$300+ billion in market value - 2nd only to Exxon.
82 percent sales growth in most recent quarter,
Should top $100Bln in revenue this year and $25/share in earnings
Has three of the hottest selling gadgets in the world: iPhone, iPad, iTunes
Has pricing power and 30 percent operating margins
I could go on and on but the fact is that Apple has become the 800 pound gorilla of technology growth stocks. Its meteoric rise and redemption from the ash heap in less than a decade is the stuff of legend. And while the stock has essentially gone nowhere in six months, Wall Street analysts still love the it. According to FactSet Data, 94 percent of the 53 analysts who have an opinion on Apple rate it a "buy" and have a median price target of $450.
As for Apple customers, to simply say they love the company wouldn't do justice to their sense of mission and devotion. That said, it's not just me who felt something was missing from Steve Jobs's keynote at the World Wide Developers Conference. Long-term industry analyst and Yahoo! Finance contributor and colleague Henry Blodget was also left wanting more, especially in the absence of the ''next big thing" product launch. Blodget says the upward trajectory of Apple may have stalled, at least for a while.
Another way of putting it could be that, with well-established, dominant positions in phones, tablets, music and more, growth rates can only come down. In essence means, it's their game to lose.
Add in a developers conference devoid of a major new device launch for the first time in four years, as well as ongoing health issues surrounding CEO Steve Jobs, and one could arguably make the case against owning Apple here -- though few have tried and none have succeeded.
All dynasties eventually end. Only on Wall Street, it usually happens a little differently. Once attaining their enormous status, they don't typically disappear or even lose money. Instead, they tend to embark on a sideways drift, defined by their past successes and penned in by their inability to keep delivering ''the next big thing". Quarter after quarter after quarter.
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- operating margins
- technology growth stocks
- Steve Jobs
- Henry Blodget
- industry analyst