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2 Hot Stocks Are Hitting All-Time Highs

By Daniel Sparks – Jul 7, 2020 at 7:07AM

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Can they go higher?

With the stock market continuing its rebound from lows during the coronavirus market crash earlier this year, some companies' stocks have done more than recover -- they've soared to new all-time highs. Two notable businesses that have seen their shares skyrocket to record levels recently are Netflix (AAPL 2.56%) and Apple (AAPL 2.56%).

Here's a closer look at what's behind these two stocks' big moves higher -- and what to expect from them in the future.

A chart showing two stocks rising to new highs

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple stock passes $370

Shares of Apple hit $375.77 at one point on Monday, marking a new all-time high for the stock. This put shares up 27% year to date and more than 80% over the past year. The company's market capitalization is now a staggering $1.62 trillion, up from $1.1 trillion one year ago.

The stock's impressive run-up has been driven by a combination of broader-market momentum for tech stocks overall and a growing appreciation among investors for Apple's fast-growing services business, which has a much higher gross profit margin than its hardware sales do.

Consider that Apple reported record services revenue in its second quarter of fiscal 2020. Total services revenue rose from $11.5 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2019 to $13.3 billion. This occurred even as total revenue fell from $46.6 billion in the year-ago period to $45.0 billion. Contributing significantly to profitability, the segment's gross profit margin was 65.4%, up from 63.8% in the same quarter last year. This compares to a gross margin of 30.3% for Apple's hardware business during the second quarter of fiscal 2020. 

If iPhone sales recover following economic lockdowns that impacted both demand and supply during fiscal Q2 and some of the current quarter, the company's hardware business could return to growth. This, combined with momentum in services, could help shares perform well over the long haul -- even from this new high.

Netflix stock nears $500

Video streaming specialist Netflix has been a beneficiary of a trend of consumers sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Video streaming has surged, benefiting Netflix as a pure-play streaming company. The company added more new subscribers in its first quarter of 2020 and is expected to report strong subscriber growth in Q2 as well.

Excitement for the stock drove shares to $499.50 at one point during the trading day on Monday. This put Netflix's market capitalization near $220 billion, up from about $165 billion one year ago.

Just as is the case for Apple stock, Netflix stock could see even higher levels in the future, as the company is still very early in its growth story. Not only has revenue been rising at a year-over-year rate of 26%-plus in each of the last four quarters, but the company's operating margin is expanding rapidly. In the first quarter of 2020, the key profitability metric was 16.6%, up from 10.2% in the year-ago period.

Given its strong top- and bottom-line momentum and its early leadership in a fast-growing market, this pureplay bet on streaming TV likely has more upside to come over the next five years.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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