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It's hard to discuss companies with cash without bringing up
Apple(AAPL - Get Report). The Cupertino, Calif.-based company caught headlines in 2011 for having more cash than the U.S. government during the budget crisis, and the firm has been hoarding even more despite initiating a dividend payout with a 1.54% yield. That, by the way, is the first dividend payout that Apple's enacted since all the way back in 1995.
Apple continues to be a Wall Street darling. While the nearly $700 price tag is enough to scare many investors away, there's actually quite a bit of value left in this stock when all of that huge cash position is accounted for. The firm's current price-to-earnings ratio of 16 isn't particularly lofty considering Apple's growth trajectory, but take out the firm's cash and investments from its price (Apple has zero debt), and its adjusted P/E for the last four quarters drops to barely above 13.
That means that investors are pricing in less growth for Apple than they are in (more) boring blue-chips such as
Johnson & Johnson(JNJ).
>>5 Stocks to Benefit From iPhone 5
The release of the iPhone 5 should be a good "aha" moment for investors. Despite the new phone being panned by many reviewers as not a substantial change from previous models, it has already smashed any sales records that Apple had set for a new phone launch. As long as AAPL keeps bringing in dumptrucks full of cash, investors would do well to ignore the naysayers.
I'd expect to see a more aggressive return of value to shareholders in the next few quarters; with limited places to spend money, Apple's best off paying its owners.
I also featured Apple recently in "
5 Stocks Hedge Funds Hate -- But Should You?."
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