Top picks 2013: Apple
Despite the skeptics and short sellers, the tech giant can still shine in the coming year.
Can Apple Inc. (AAPL) return to the $700 level? Whether it can or not, I suspect that the stock will be one of the outstanding comeback stories during the year ahead.
Indeed, even if it rebounds to $600 or so, that's a 20% gain. Most investors would settle for that. And chances are it will do much better over time, given Apple's knack for coming up with new products.
Short sellers have cleaned up since they began bum-rapping Apple in late 2012.
1. The short positions, while rising rapidly early in the fall, never amounted to more than a few percentage points of the outstanding shares at their peak.
2. The stock was probably overdue for correction, having zoomed nine-fold since March 2009.
3. The consensus of 50-plus Wall Street analysts covering AAPL still calls for 20%-plus a year earnings growth going forward, with a target price of $762.
Apple, in case you hadn't noticed, is selling iPads and iPhones at record levels -- even while its stock has been under attack -- in just about every corner of the world.
Whether or not Apple comes up with a TV-type product, as current speculation has it, one would be mistaken to assume that this enormously talented company has run out of its creative juices.
At some point, to be sure, the law of large numbers comes into play; Apple one day will grow at a slower pace just because it has grown so large. But at $150 billion in revenues, we aren't there yet.
Apple is risky. The stock, after all, trades well below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. But there's noting wrong with buying into a fundamentally strong company when it's down.
This has the earmarks of a good buying opportunity, especially in a steadily improving economy, assuming Federal fiscal issues are resolved. Nor, however, is there anything wrong with waiting for a confirming rally in AAPL before jumping in.
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Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
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