Why Apple (AAPL) Is Up Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple  (AAPL) continued its upward trend from Wednesday after Carl Icahn announced on Twitter on Thursday that he had purchased another $500 million of the stock to bring the total to more than $3.5 billion.

The stock rose 0.85% to $556.18, up $4.67 from its previous close of $551.51. It had a volume of 11.72 million, slightly above its average of 11.37 million. The stock had a high of $556.50 and a low of $544.81 for the day; it also has a one-year high of $575.14 and a one-year low of $385.10.

In a series of tweets, Icahn announced he had purchased $500 million in Apple stock to surpass the $3 billion mark. He called the decision a "no brainer" but still took a shot at Apple's directors, writing that the board "is doing great disservice to shareholders by not having markedly increased its buyback." Icahn has continually called for Apple to buy back an additional $150 billion of its own stock, but the company has yet to do so.

Apple announced in May that it planned to return $100 billion to shareholders over three years through stock buybacks and a quarterly dividend of $3.05 per share.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on Thursday that Apple would release iPhones with larger displays later this year. The report cites unnamed sources who reportedly said that Apple would release two versions, one with a screen larger than 4.5 inches measured diagonally and another with a display larger than 5 inches. To this point, Apple's largest phone has been the iPhone 5's 4-inch display.

TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • AAPL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Although AAPL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.40, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $9,908.00 million or 8.45% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, APPLE INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 6.77%.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • 41.78% is the gross profit margin for APPLE INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of AAPL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AAPL's net profit margin of 20.04% compares favorably to the industry average.

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