Why it’s impossible to bet against Apple and its $178 billion
After Apple shocked the world with blowout iPhone sales, the world’s most valuable company also announced that it’s sitting on a mountain of cash.
How much? How about $178 billion.
To put that into perspective, that’s more than the market cap of 483 of the S&P 500 companies. In fact, Apple can use all that cash to buy 38 of those companies outright and have a few bucks to spare. Or, as S&P Dow Jones Indices senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt notes, Apple could pay $556 to every single person in the United States.
The massive cash has some investors clamoring.
One of the company’s larger shareholders thinks the best investment Apple can make is in its own stock. “When you have $178 billion, you should do a bigger buyback,” said Carl Icahn on CNBC’s “Fast Money Half Time Report” on Wednesday. Icahn owns nearly 53 million shares worth more than $5.3 billion based on his most recent regulatory filings.
Others think the horde of cash makes it impossible to bet against the company.
“It’s really hard to bet on the prospect of innovation,” said David Seaburg, head of sales trading at Cowen and Co. “But it’s much more difficult to bet against a company that has $180 billion in cash.”
While Seaburg expects it to take a while for Apple shares to move considerably higher, he sees the company seizing on growth prospects with automating the living room, the automobile, wearables and then some.
“I have my money on Apple, no question about it,” he said. “This is a company that creates not necessarily what people need but it’s what people want.”
What gets Seaburg particularly enthused is how the market has begun to adopt Apple Pay and what that could mean for future iPhone sales. Though major retailers like Wal-Mart and Target still don’t accept it, Apple CEO Tim Cook wants to make 2015 the “year of Apple Pay.”
“We read in the report yesterday about the traction Apple Pay is getting,” said Seaburg. “As far as the upgrades are concerned, it’s Apple Pay that will drive people to do this.”
While the fundamentals may be positive on the stock, the technicals are saying there’s limited upside for now with the stock, according to the chart work of Todd Gordon, founder of Trading Analysis.com.
“I’m going to have to put the cap to this Apple cheering section here just a little bit,” said Gordon, a CNBC contributor. “Fundamentally, I agree it’s an amazing company. I think it’s a company that invents products we didn’t know we need. … But we have to put the top on this excitement.”
That cap, according to Gordon, comes in at $125 per share, roughly $8 above where the stock now trades.
Gordon reached his target by drawing a support line in Apple’s chart connecting the bottoms in 2009 and 2013 and then drawing a parallel line that connected the tops in 2012 and 2014. At the moment, the top line is at $125.
“That’s a resistance level that the market doesn’t know is there unless you use the bottom trend line support,” said Gordon. “The target comes in at about $125.”