Are Apple's Mac sales more important than iPad?

Soft year-over-year comparisons could mean a February sales surge that powers AAPL shares in the weeks ahead.

By Louis Navellier Mar 8, 2010 2:44PM

louis navellier apple recommendationIn February of 2009, the Mac was looking like rotten apple for Apple (AAPL). Sales had slipped 16% year-over-year and the lack of revenue from the computer division of this gadget maker really weighed on shares.

 

Fast forward to this year, where consumer spending has firmed up and Mac sales growth helped AAPL post a nearly 80% earnings surprise in its latest quarterly report.

 

Together, these two trends could point to a blowout showing for Mac sales when February numbers are released in mid-March and power AAPL shares more than even the buzz created by its iPad launch.

 

The correlation between low expectations and strong sales was noted by analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. He said the 16% decline posted between February 2008 and February 2009 is the softest in his five years of tracking the company.

 


In its earnings report in January, Apple said it sold 3.36 million Mac computers -- a 33% jump over the year-ago quarter. Thanks to this strong computer revenue, the company reported a net profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per share, on sales of $15.68 billion. Wall Street analysts has been expecting earnings of $2.07 per share on sales of $12.06 billion so AAPL posted a 77% earnings surprise and a 30% sales surprise!

 

I currently rate Apple a strong buy, but don’t pay more than $219 a share or you’ll limit your upside potential.

 

It’s easy to see why Apple is leading the tech revolution, from digital media distribution to smart phones to personal computing. The company’s iPod and iTunes lead the digital music industry, and the iPhone is one of the hottest smart phones out there. AAPL also hasn’t forgotten its personal computing roots and has cut into the dominance of Windows with its OS X operating system and fleet of Mac computers.  What with all the buzz around the iPad launch, I expect Apple to remain a great buy for many months due to its extensive suite of gadgets that are resonating with consumers even while spending stays tight.

 

At the time of this writing, Louis Navellier owned shares of Apple (AAPL) in personal or client portfolios.

 

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