The mania over Apple (AAPL) shares and the company in general has reached a new low. Lately, investors have been focused in on a possible stock spilt for the next reason to be hopeful on the company’s prospects in the near term.
Keep in mind that a stock split doesn’t actually matter in terms of a stock’s value. Instead, it is pretty much just a gimmick at this point, and pretty weak one at that since round lot trading isn’t really an issue anymore.
But like with most Apple trading, both in the past and in current trading, fundamentals aren’t exactly important. Shares moved steadily higher on the rumor of the possible split, and the story has dominated headlines as well.
This is despite the fact that a stock split after a nearly 30% crash in a few months is, to put it mildly, absurd. Don’t companies usually try to do splits at lofty prices instead of waiting for a catastrophe as a weak attempt to juice prices?
While it is true that a possible hike in dividend payouts has also been rumored, it is kind of depressing that this is what the once-innovator has come to already. Instead of being an all-star in the tech world, the company is now just a yield destination for investors, no different really than INTC or any other important, but no longer worshiped, big tech company out there.
I for one had been thinking about jumping into AAPL at these depressed levels, but some of these recent events have made me reconsider. The stock is still trading on rumors and conjecture, but not even about the company's business anymore, or the ‘Holy Grail’ of iTV. Instead it is about meaningless things like stock splits and how insane the cash pile will get before something is done about it.
True, the company is hovering just above its 52-week lows and it has an extremely low P/E, but can this make up for all of the other issues swirling around the stock?
After all, AAPL currently has just a Zacks Rank of 3 or ‘Hold’ and it is in the middle of the road in terms of Industry Rank, so there is little to hang your hat on from that perspective. The pile of cash is now approaching one-third of total market cap in the company, but based on the latest shareholder meeting, there just seems to be ‘active talk’ about doing something with it.
At what point will it be enough? $150 billion? $200 billion?
Apparently investors and even AAPL management are still having trouble thinking clearly about the company and its long-term outlook. I think I will be staying away until a more coherent policy is developed regarding the firm’s outlook both in terms of products and dividends.
Still, I do believe that more dividends have to be coming for AAPL, but I wonder what took so long in the first place. Stock prices have been in severe bear territory for the California-based giant and I for one believe a more robust dividend policy would have crushed the bears in short order, but what do you think?
What should Apple do to get out of its malaise and why has it taken so long for the company’s management to react?
Let us know in the comments below!
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