Early this year, Apple fans forecast that the iPhone-maker would become the world’s first trillion-dollar company. Today, that monumental goal is far from reach, and getting more remote with each passing week.
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So why are investors down on Apple? Its price-to-earnings ratio now stands at a meager 11, far below the S&P average. That means that investors are not just skeptical that Apple will be able to repeat its stellar performance in 2015. The market is actually predicting falling profits for the tech giant.
The skepticism can be summarized as follows: the world worries that Apple will never find another iPhone; that single product accounted for 66% of total sales, and for the entire increase in revenues; sales from all its other products combined actually declined.
For an analyst from another planet reading its financial statements, Apple would look like a giant bank or asset manager. Its balance sheet holds $206 billion in cash and securities, or around 71% of its total assets. Apple makes just 1.4% on those holdings. Eventually, it will need to find a way to invest a big chunk of that cash.
The bottom line: Tech’s superstar is entering a world of low expectations, when it’s regularly beaten high expectations. It should be able to vault over the new, low bar with ease, and raise its stock price in the process. Investors, though, believe we’ll never see the likes of a new iPhone—or the Old Apple. But the current Apple may be more than enough.
My 2 cents:
Fact of the matter is, much of this speculation is based on three sources: (1) trillion dollar hesitancy, (2) iPhone expectations and (3) supplier leaks. Apple’s dip can be reversed if one considers that (1) an aspiring first trillion dollar company is under the most intense scrutiny (2) iWatch’s release closely parallels iPad’s release: impressive but not iPhone level… is that so bad? (3) supplier forecast sales that have been leaked don’t relate specifically to Apple’s demand; therefore lower sales from suppliers does not mean lower Apple sales forecast. Does Apple need another iPhone to keep being iPhone? It’s tough to be the innovative leader, and speculation doesn’t help, but Apple has performed above predictions like clock work and iPhone dependency seems to be a concern that Apple doesn’t share.