- Apple looks to expand into the Chinese market even as the impressive financial results in previous years indicate strong momentum for the company.
- Apple continues to be the most valuable brand and it ensures that almost every product release beats sales expectation.
- As negative sentiment towards Apple stock is on the rise, the stock looks like an attractive opportunity for the long term.
It can be very daunting to invest in a stock especially during its drag period. However, despite the problems of Apple stock and uncertainty about the company's rate of innovation, there are still good reasons to have Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in your portfolio.
Apple stock price had hit a high of $133 in Feb 2015 before dropping back to $106.03 (Dec 18 close).
Following the drop in price, is Apple stock an attractive long play for 2016? The reasons outlined below show why Apple stock could be considered as a valuable addition to one’s portfolio, and why now is a good time to get it at an attractive price before it rebounds in 2016.
Impressive growth rate
Firstly; over the preceding years, the company has outgrown its competitors. The company reported a 22% YoY growth in revenues accompanied by a 38% growth in the bottomline in its latest quarterly report (Q4 2015). Also, Apple spent $17.8 billion on dividends and buybacks in its Q4 2015. This tremendous return of capital demonstrates how the management of Apple prioritizes its shareholder's interests. In this regard, it is evident that Apple’s management team are doing their best in order to ensure that shareholders gain ample returns on their stock investments.
Moreover, the greater portion of revenue for Apple is contributed by the United States and China. This is indicated by a surge in iPhone sales which soared by 120% in the last quarter. Consequently, revenue attributed to the iPhone has almost doubled YoY from $6.3 billion in Q4 2014 to $12.5 billion in Q4 2015.
Analyst consensus was for Apple to report Q4 EPS of $1.88 on $51.1 billion in revenue, yet these projections were massively superseded by Apple. Apple announced Q4 earnings of $11.1 billion and a record-breaking revenue of $51.5 billion, a majority of which came from an upsurge in China sales.
Besides, Tim Cook said in an interview that a significant amount of sales growth also came from other countries including Indonesia and India. He also stated that the company is looking to expand their territories in China by opening about 40 stores around mid-2016.
In October 2014, Apple pay was launched in the United States. While the service hasn't had a great run on its home turf, one can expect uptake to pick up significantly once Apple markets it more aggressively in 2016. The company has plans of extending it to China, hoping to launch it in early 2016. However, a similar service known as Alipay, is already available in China and is owned by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA). This will create a lot of competition for Apple; however, they will hope that their brand power and a partnership with UnionPay will help them to gain significant market share, or at least something to build on in the future. Finally, the average P/E ratio for the S&P 500 stands at 19.3 whilst Apple stock offers an enticing P/E of 11.67. From an investment perspective, this suggests good value for money.
In conclusion, the fact that Apple products are viewed as an indicator of wealth in China- which has a growing middle class - bodes well for the company. In addition, Apple has sought to create additional revenue streams with the launch of Apple Pay, Apple watch, Apple TV, Apple music, and the upmarket iPad Pro. It is worth noting that the iPhone 6s and 6s plus enjoyed record-breaking sales.
As Android phones and laptops are quickly catching up with Apple products in terms of features, there is a growing sentiment that Apple has reached its lag phase. However, Apple continues to be the world’s most valuable brand, and has proven that anything they launch is practically guaranteed to be successful. Apple stock is available at a bargain and presents an attractive opportunity for the long term investor.