Apple Inc. (AAPL): Today's Featured Computer Hardware Winner

Apple ( AAPL) pushed the Computer Hardware industry higher today making it today's featured computer hardware winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.8%. By the end of trading, Apple rose $7.91 (1.3%) to $615.70 on average volume. Throughout the day, 12.1 million shares of Apple exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $611.56-$617.98 after having opened the day at $613.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $607.79. Other companies within the Computer Hardware industry that increased today were: Synaptics ( SYNA), up 10.2%, Quantum Corporation ( QTM), up 9.3%, Radisys Corporation ( RSYS), up 8.6%, and Teradata Corporation ( TDC), up 8%.

Apple Inc., together with subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication devices, and portable digital music and video players, as well as sells various related software, services, peripherals, and networking solutions. Apple has a market cap of $568.83 billion and is part of the technology sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.3, equal to the average computer hardware industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 49.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 38 analysts that rate Apple a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apple as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Performance Technologies ( PTIX), down 21.1%, MTS Medication Technologies ( MTSI), down 20.8%, Hutchinson Technology ( HTCH), down 5.3%, and Overland Storage ( OVRL), down 4.5%, were all laggards within the computer hardware industry with Aruba Networks ( ARUN) being today's computer hardware industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the computer hardware industry could consider iShares Dow Jones US Technology ( IYW) while those bearish on the computer hardware industry could consider ProShares Ultra Short Semiconductor ( SSG).