NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I'm getting a lump in my throat seeing shares of Apple ( AAPL) breaking below $400 onthe way to a new 52-week low of $394 as of this writing.
I struggle reconciling how this company, with all of its $137 billion in cash and a dominant portfolio of products, can trade at such a discount. Remarkably, both Microsoft ( MSFT) and Dell ( DELL) now carry higher P/E ratios than Apple. It doesn't' make sense. How can this market, filled with so many bright people, be so dumb? Is Apple a laughing stock? Aside from feeling a great deal of regret and anger, I was embarrassed to be an Apple shareholder, which prompted me to place a brown paper bag over my head in shame. I've been an unabashed Apple "Fanboy" for years. What has my loyalty gotten me? Is this the same company that Steve Jobs left behind? Until this recent drop, the stock had gained 756% from January 2009, when shares traded at $82.33 on their way to $705. Remarkably, this occurred in just four years. That's an absurd average of almost 20% per month for 44 consecutive months. However, the market never really loved Apple. It sounds crazy to say, I know. Then can you explain why, during that span, the P/E ratio dropped from 35 to where it is today at 9? Each time the stock went higher the Street got more fearful; this despite revenue growing at 20% to 30%. The company is coming off a record first-quarter performance, posting $54 billion in revenue, with sales of 75 million iOS devices in one quarter. Unfortunately, the Street doesn't care about that, either.
Apple is seen as having lost its "mojo." But there's a difference between the stock and the company's performance. However, at this point Apple's board of directors need to answer the plea and reward investors for their patience and their loyalty. I deserve better! The company must increase the dividend and buyback stock. This is what the Street demands. Sentiment is changing and the company is hurting itself carrying all of this cash.