Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Reasons Apple Stock Is Hitting New Highs

By Rick Munarriz – Feb 2, 2020 at 7:30PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The country's most valuable stock briefly topped $1.4 trillion in market cap after posting well-received quarterly results. The party might not be over.

Shares of the country's most valuable publicly traded company continue to appreciate. Apple (AAPL -5.33%) saw its stock hit another all-time high last week, propelled by a blowout financial report

The consumer tech icon naturally slipped later in the week with the general market as investors got skittish, but it's just a matter of time before Apple hits fresh highs again. Let's go over three things that helped fuel Apple's market cap above $1.4 trillion (albeit briefly) for the first time last week.

An Apple class for iPads at an Apple Store classroom.

A class for iPad users at an Apple Store. Image source: Apple.

1. The iPhone is back

Apple has relied on the iPhone for the lion's share of its revenue and an even greater chunk of its earnings for years. When Apple's top line declined in fiscal 2019, with earnings taking an even bigger step back, that was the iPhone holding back growth elsewhere. 

Last week's first-quarter report of fiscal 2020 was everything that the prior year wasn't. Apple's iPhone sales rose 8%, almost keeping up with the overall 9% year-over-year ascent. With the smartphone gaining traction again and buzz starting to build for the next models that will take full advantage of the 5G revolution, the near-term future for the iPhone is a lot brighter than the recent past. 

2. New drivers are moving the needle

One of the more tantalizing aspects of the Apple story for bulls lately has been its push into services. From App Store revenue to iCloud storage subscriptions, the Apple ecosystem thrusts consumers into a future of nickel-and-dime transactions beyond the initial hardware purchase.

The services category is evolving and expanding for Apple. Over the past year alone, we've seen Apple push into its own credit card and the launch of its first premium video streaming service. Services revenue rose 17% in Apple's fiscal first quarter, and now accounts for 14% of the sales mix for the class act of Cupertino.

It's not just services changing the game for Apple. The biggest gain came from a 37% surge in sales for its segment that combines wearables, home, and accessories. Apple Watch, HomePod, and AirPods are some of the young guns in its arsenal taking the sting off a decline in both its Mac and iPad sales. 

3. Even bears are coming around

Seeing analyst bulls scramble to push their price targets higher after last week's blowout financial performance isn't a surprise. Apple's on the rise, and its biggest fans are going to juice up their price goals to stay ahead of the stock chart. The real surprise last week came from a couple of previously bearish analysts who changed their tune. 

Maxim analyst Nehal Chokshi upgraded the stock from sell to hold last week. Pierre Ferragu at New Street lifted his rating on Apple from reduce to neutral, arguing that the turnaround of its iPhone business kills his bearish thesis.

Bears often hold their ground even after a monster report, and if anything, they're more committed to valuation arguments when stocks move higher. At least two former Wall Street bears don't see things that way, and if there was ever any doubt before, we're seeing why Apple is such a popular tech stock for growth investors.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$141.86 (-5.33%) $-7.98

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
342%
 
S&P 500 Returns
107%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.