Carl Icahn now owns $3 billion worth of Apple. Is it still a good value?
Could Apple be the cheapest tech stock out there? Carl Icahn thinks so.
Calling an investment in the company a "no brainer", the legendary investor says Apple is cheap relative to the overall market. Speaking to CNBC's Fast Money Wednesday, Icahn said:
"You don't have to be a genius in technology to understand that Apple is selling at 2014 consensus of nine times earnings. And, amazingly, the S&P  is selling at 17 times earnings and Apple is really growing. It's sort of amazing to mean that it's just not picked up."
Carl Icahn earlier announced he bit deeper into Apple – $500 million more, to be exact. He now has a stake of more than $3 billion in the tech giant. Like a giddy teenager who just scored tickets to a One Direction concert, the septuagenarian billionaire gleefully took to Twitter on Tuesday, saying:
Having purchased $500 million more $AAPL shares in the last two weeks, our investment has crossed the $3 billion mark yesterday.— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) January 22, 2014
That helped to send Apple shares up as much as 1.3% in trading on Wednesday. Of course, this is just the latest of many Apple tweets from Icahn. The first was back on August 13, when Icahn first tweeted:
We currently have a large position in APPLE. We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to Tim Cook today. More to come.— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 13, 2013
Within a week of that tweet, Apple shares were up 8.5%.
(Watch the CNBC interview: Icahn: I'm better off if Apple does nothing; I plan to buy more stock)
With Icahn or not, portfolio manager John Stephenson of First Asset Investment Management thinks investors should jump on the stock. "This is a phenomenal company," says Stephenson. "It is the play on mobile applications and mobile computing."
Stephenson agrees with Icahn that the company's valuation is still very cheap, especially relative to its peers. Apple currently trades at 13.9 times trailing 12 month earnings compared to an industry average of nearly 19 times. Rival Google, for example, trades at 31.6 times, according to data from Capital IQ.
Apple's deal with China Mobile is a big benefit, says Stephenson. "That deal should allow them another $3 a share or $10 billion just in the next 12 months," he says. But he sees it as just the beginning.
"We haven't started talking – until this China Mobile deal – about tapping the emerging markets," says Stephenson. "That's really where the potential future growth for them."
Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager and co-founder Washington Crossings Advisors, has a price target of $650 for Apple. It was trading as high as $557 on Wednesday.
"Investors may want to date Apple but not marry it," says Morganlander, who believes the company will do fine in the short-run but face hurdles down the road. "The next 12 to 18 months operating performance should placate investor fears. Looking out, further competition for the likes of Amazon and Google could prove to be a significant challenge. "
Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross also thinks the stock is a buy based on the technicals. And, he believes it says a lot about the market as a whole.
"This is a market bellwether; this is a very important stock," says Ross. "When I see a chart like this, I have a pretty strong feeling it's going higher."
To see the rest of Stephenson's fundamental take and Ross' technical take on Apple, watch the video above.
More from Talking Numbers:
It may be in a dying business but here's why it's a great stock: Strategists
Why we could see a market correction in February
Dan Loeb just bought $1.3 billion worth of stock in this company