In theory, stock splits don’t increase the value of a company. But don’t try telling that to Apple investors.
Since the tech giant announced its 7-for-1 back in April, Apple shares have rallied more than 21 percent, adding over $105 billion in market cap, or roughly the value of McDonald's.
The staggering move has some investors ringing the register.
“You could get this short-term spike,” said Chad Morganlander of Washington Crossing Advisors, who expects to see Apple shares hit $700 per share in the short term, but is maintaining his 12-month forecast of $650 per share.
But Morganlander stressed that investors should be cautious, “We’d be somewhat more careful with the company as it reached $700 [per share]. This is not Procter & Gamble, nor is it a McDonald’s where you can put it away and forget about it.”
Apple’s split will become effective after Friday’s close, and will give shareholders of record on June 2 six additional shares for each share that they own. Apple will trade at its split-adjusted price Monday.
Whether it's the anticipation of the split, or the hype surrounding its massive new product cycle, traders are looking to buy Apple at every chance. Just this week, one investor made a $60 million bet in the options market that Apple would see all-time highs in October.
Of course, whether a stock is $700 or $70, it all looks the same when viewed through the prism of the charts. And according to Mark Newton of Greywolf Execution, Apple’s chart is looking a little extended.
“The stock has been up over $100 in the last couple of months,” Newton noted. “So, despite the fact that the longer-term trend is quite bullish on Apple, the prior highs are near $676 [per share] from back in September 2012. That’s really the area people should concentrate on.” (Note: Newton’s chart adjusts for corporate actions, including dividends.)
Newton pointed out that Apple’s prior high will act as critical resistance for the stock. “I think personally the stock will get under $600 [per share] before it gets above $700” per share.
Split or no split, at north of $550 billion Apple's market cap is nearing uncharted territory, and at some point, the company may run into the law of large numbers. A trillion-dollar market cap is sure to give some investors pause. Of course, with a cheaper nominal price, less-savvy investors may think they're getting a bargain.