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4 Keys to Apple's Stock

Good things happen if Apple can shift attention towards the software. From this perspective, everyone gets a new iPhone on June 6! The status quo has become overwhelmed in irrelevant minutia. New customers should buy an iPhone when ready and current customers should replace an iPhone when needed. Apple has gotten too big to be tied to any particular dates.

4. Time to unlock value: The elephant in the room regarding Apple stock is the historically low valuation. The majority of blogs no longer mention Apple products. Instead, they each have their own way of explaining Apple's single-digit forward P/E ratio or Apple's increasing rate of change of cash.

The company is growing at approximately 100% per year and yet the stock can't keep up. Apple executives are talking about it. The board of directors are talking about it. Steve Jobs has to be thinking about it. Nobody is happy.

It's as if Apple is making 3-point shots but the scorekeeper is taking away 3 points every time the ball goes through the net. Can Apple do anything to unlock the real value of the company? Yes. Will they do something about it? They have before.

It's unlikely Apple wants to buy back shares or issue a dividend because they love the security of their cash hoard but it is likely they will split the stock. Stock splits come and go like fads. Sometimes they are popular and other times they aren't. Google's $600 price tag made it cool to have a high stock price but it appears those days are coming to an end as the Google run has sputtered. Baidu stock had stalled until it issued a 10 for 1 split on May 12, 2010; since that time the stock has almost doubled.

In this day and age, it's important for companies to stay one step ahead of the manipulative shenanigans of the hedge funds who control up to 50% of daily volume. A split, buyback, or dividend would shake things up just enough to keep the hedgies on edge. We anticipate that Apple investor frustration among the executive team and the board of directors will be enough to force Apple to make a move. The company split its shares in 2005 and in 2000. Now seems like the right time to do it again.
At the time of publication, Schwarz was long Apple.

Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.
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