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Apple(AAPL - Get Report) isn't getting a whole lot of love right now. Shares of the $474 billion tech firm have fallen more than 16% in the last six months alone, but I cringe every time I hear that the company is overvalued.
Right now, Apple boasts more than $121 billion in cash and investments on its debt-free balance sheet. That means that around a quarter of Apple's share price is made up of cold, hard cash. That's like a $126 discount on Apple per share -- or it means that the firm currently sports a cash-adjusted P/E ratio of 8.5.
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So if you think that Apple has worse growth prospects than
Nokia(NOK), then by all means, continue to avoid this stock. Otherwise, Apple's trading at a big discount thanks to its pile of cash.
Apple creates wildly popular consumer electronics through its iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh lines. The firm also operates the most profitable retail stores in the industry and the biggest music distributor in the world in iTunes. The bigger they are, the harder they fall - it's that mantra that's sent investors scurrying from Apple on rumors that the firm has been cutting its iPhone 5 orders on weakening consumer demand. But Apple's business hasn't actually shown fundamental signs of weakening, and the added value that the firm pours into its devices (measured by the subsidies it's able to force cost-obsessed carriers to pay out) is astounding.
Most important, Apple has been parting with its huge cash position to pay investors. The firm's dividend payout and buyback plan have made each of the firm's shares worth more while they fell in price. Apple's price action has been purely technical for the past few months -- and that's something investors shouldn't ignore. As much as Apple's cash presents a bargain, it's going to be critical for buyers to wait for the downtrend in shares to get broken before piling in.
Today's earnings call after the bell could provide the catalyst to do just that.
I also featured Apple, one of
David Tepper's Appaloosa Management holdings, recently in "
5 Dividend Hikes to Watch for This Earnings Season."