The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- I typically have little interest in the hottest stocks on Wall Street. There is much to be said for being fearful when others are greedy.
After all, how much buying pressure can be left to bid up a stock after every guppy on Main Street and every shark in a thousand-dollar suit owns shares?
Recently, I took a good look at
, one of Wall Street's biggest darlings. I was trying to find reasons to avoid the stock like the plague. But as it turns out, Apple is actually very cheap -- and a good buy despite all the hype. Here's why:
At about $350 a share, Apple is indeed one of the priciest stocks on Wall Street. But time and time again, the "House that Jobs Built" proves that it is just as powerful as every armchair investor claims it to be.
Despite the hype, Apple has a forward P/E of just 12.1. By comparison, now-sluggish
has a forward P/E of about 13.6 and top smartphone competitor
is just shy of 14.1.
What's more, despite a 5% run in the last several trading days, AAPL stock is still shy of its February peak of around $365. There's another 5% or so for shares to run before Apple hits a new 52-week high.
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On the earnings front, Apple has been simply phenomenal, topping forecasts by a dollar a share in its last two quarterly reports. When a $320 billion company that is closely watched by experts trounces expectations so soundly, it proves it deserves some of the hype.
Last quarter shares jumped 6% in two days after strong numbers were released, proving that big numbers can still cause a big move for Apple.
In regards to product development, Apple continues to innovate. Its iCloud technology could take Apple's near monopoly digital-music model to the next level, a highly anticipated iPhone 5 will launch this fall, and an iPad 3 will roll out within the next year to keep Apple's tablet dominance firmly entrenched.
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And last but not least, it's worth noting that nearly every analyst watching Apple has a buy on the stock. AAPL shares have a mean target of $448 and a median target of $450, according 48 brokers surveyed by
That's an average of 28% gains above current pricing.
Just about the worst you can say about Apple is that some Wall Street experts are not the fanboys they once were. Consider Oppenheimer, which recently cut its price target from $450 down to $420 based on doubts of how well the new Apple iPhone will perform with such a crowded release schedule and a late debut in 2011.
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Uh oh, only 20% upside according to this target. Better run for the hills!
Apple shares are some of the priciest on Wall Street and everybody and their brother is in love with the stock. While there's certainly reason to fear herd mentality, many signs point to a buy on Apple. Find out two other big-name, big-price tech stocks that are super cheap in my take on
3 pricey tech stocks worth every penny.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.