I'm not going to try to put some spin on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) that you haven't heard before. The Foolish universe is full of musings, both bull and bear, on the stock and why you should or shouldn't own it. But today I believe the market is giving investors a gift, so I'm taking it and adding Apple to my Real Money Portfolio.
Keep it simple
In line with my investing philosophy, there are four things I look for when considering any investment:
- I want management I can trust. They need to be in it to win it, and they need to be honest.
- I want something that is understandable and that I can enjoy following.
- I want a catalyst -- a short-term event or long-term trend that will help create value.
- I want a fair price. Enough said.
Management I can trust; in it to win it
Regardless of your opinion of him, Steve Jobs was a relatively known quantity and his devotion and passion to making Apple stand out in an increasingly crowded, technologically driven world were unsurpassed. In a post-Steve Jobs world, there are still plenty of questions to be answered, but I don't question Tim Cook's love for this company. I truly do believe he is fully invested in the long-term success of Apple, and from what I've seen thus, far I give him high marks.
As the former COO of Apple from 2005 to the point where he took over as CEO in 2011, Cook's intimate knowledge of the company is a tremendous asset. It's also worth noting that upon taking the CEO job he was awarded 1,000,000 restricted stock units. Half will vest in 2016 and half in 2021; I'd say he has a very strong incentive to stay with the company.
Understandable and interested
I don't know that I need to harp too much on this one. Apple's iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs are some of the most popular devices around. They sell premium hardware on which they won't compromise and have developed a strong ecosystem to boot.
A long-term trend
At this point for me, Apple is very much a story about what comes next. I have personally expressed concerns over the iPhone's replacement cycle, for example. However, the bottom line is that as it stands (no offense, Microsoft), this is essentially a two-horse race between Apple's iOS operating system and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Android system. But this isn't a zero-sum game; I believe that both can and will win from the growing mobile movement thanks to excellent smartphone and tablet offerings. And I can't help but be fascinated by what Apple may be able to present us on the TV front. What's after that? iHouse?
Over the last year, less than 40% of all mobile phone sales were smartphones. While some see Android's 72% of the global smartphone market as a hurdle for Apple, I believe that Apple's 14% share is a genuine opportunity to grow, particularly when you consider the international market opportunities such as China and Brazil. China, for example, has shown 78% revenue growth over last year thanks to strong demand for iPhones, iPads and Macs. True, these markets may present less robust replacement cycles than here domestically, but they are also still very early in their growth.
All at a fair price
I'm not going to tell you I thought that Apple was "expensive" at $705 per share. Paying around 14 times forward estimates with a ridonkulous $121 billion in cash and equivalents on the balance sheet for a market leader is not necessarily a bad deal. But the stock was flying, and as a headline darling, it seemed like it was getting ahead of itself. The stock plummeting 25% in the last two months, however, seems to me to be a bit of an overreaction. At around 10 times forward estimates and that same ridonkulous $121 billion on the balance sheet, I just can't say no.
iPhone, iPad, iStock
As a consumer, I get the power of the Apple. And while I doubt I'll ever be one who fully commits to only one platform, it's also plain to see that Apple will continue to take part in setting the standard for years to come. So before the market comes back to its senses, I'm adding a few shares to my Real Money Portfolio. Make sure to follow along with me on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings in my Motley Portfolio.
There is absolutely no argument that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.