When is Apple cheap?

The tech giant's disappointing earnings are making investors wonder if the stock has peaked.

By Benzinga Jan 24, 2013 4:19PM
Credit copyright 2012 Apple IncBy Sam Mattera 

Shares of Apple (AAPL) dropped almost 12% Thursday after the company reported a disappointing quarter Wednesday night.


Although Apple's earnings per share came in slightly better than expected, revenue missed, and iPhone sales were lower than the key 50 million unit mark analysts were looking for.


Most significantly, Apple said it was changing the way it did guidance, planning to give more realistic guidance going forward -- in the past, Apple guidance had almost always been absurdly conservative.


As a result, most analysts cut their price targets on Apple, and a few downgraded the company.


Jeff Gundlach, known for his fixed-income investing but also a big Apple bear, said that shares of Apple wouldn't be cheap until they entered the $300 territory.


"There's still an obsession with [Apple], 'Do I buy it now that it's down a little bit?'... this is not the type of talk that goes on at a really enduring bottom," Gundlach told CNBC viewers Wednesday evening.


Gundlach said to watch the $483 level Thursday. If Apple closes below $483 on Thursday, he expects it to be $425 very quickly. With Apple already trading near $450 by late afternoon, it seems highly likely that it will close below $483.


Even if it gets to $425 though, Gundlach still doesn't believe it will be cheap. "Since when do broken stocks stop at fair value?" he asked.


Still, when looking at Apple's fundamentals, the stock appears cheap. Apple's trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is only 10.47; its forward P/E is 8.19. Compare this to Microsoft (MSFT): trailing P/E of 15.12, forward P/E 8.80. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)


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1Comment
Jan 24, 2013 7:13PM
avatar
Apple's very cheap if you do the math and subtract out the $146 PS of cash selling at $305 PS. Divide that by 9 to get comparable PS for MS and you'll get about $34 PS versus MS $20 with cash netted out. Apple's a steal at $304 and so is MS at $20. WS has just been spoiled by Apple for the last 4-5 years and WS needs to get a new perspective.
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