Fidelity manager still bullish on Apple

The head of the Blue Chip Growth fund sees upside in PCs, smartphones and tablets.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 7, 2012 1:08PM
mage: Bull figurine on ascending line graph and list of share prices (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)By Jack Bowers, Fidelity Monitor

Fidelity Blue Chip Growth is a core holding in our Growth Portfolio, and last month we caught up with the fund's manager, Sonu Kalra. 

Here we share his comments and outlook on Apple (AAPL), which accounted for 9.1% of the Blue Chip portfolio's assets at year's end.

Overall, technology accounted for 33% of Fidelity Blue Chip's holdings. Kalra has an "overweight" relative to the Russell 1000 Growth benchmark and feels good about what is going on, noting that there are several product cycles driving sales: cloud computing, mobile devices, fragmentation of media and tablets.

Overall, business spending has held up well because many companies have been using technology to improve productivity.

Regarding Apple, Kalra believes the company still has room to grow despite its impressive rebound from the depths of the financial crisis. He sees three main areas of opportunity:
  • PCs: Apple's global share stands at 5%, and its success in portable devices has created a nice halo effect. Product acceptance is on the upswing on campuses and in the business world. Apple's laptops, even the under $1,000 models, are considered a premium product -- they represent an aspirational brand. People are willing to spend extra.

  • Smartphones: This business is growing 40% a year, and Apple has about 20% of the global market. It is adding new carriers overseas, and its stream of new products is likely to continue (Fidelity is not privy to Apple's product development efforts; its analysts learn about new introductions at the same time as the public).

  • Tablets: This is a product category that Apple invented, and the firm still has a 70% market share. So far this segment is growing faster than either PCs or smartphones -- in fact it looks a lot like the iPod music players. Apple has done a nice job of creating an ecosystem. As a result, consumers do not seem to mind spending extra on its products.
Overall, Kalra feels, Apple has many vectors to help it continue to grow its business, and he feels comfortable that the stock is selling at a significant discount given its rate of earnings growth.

The company has a lot of cash on its books, which could be used in a strategic acquisition that complements the existing business model.

Kalra feels Steve Jobs was a brilliant person. But Apple is far from a one-person company -- Jobs' thinking is now ingrained in Apple's DNA.

Further, its customer base remains passionate, allowing the company to get by with relatively little advertising. While the lack of a visionary leader may someday become a problem, Kalra doesn't see it as much of an issue in the coming years.

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