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The Biggest, Cheapest, and Fastest-Growing Company in America

By John Maxfield - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:30PM

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Investors don't get rich by following the crowd. They get rich instead by buying great companies at bargain-basement prices.

Say what you will about Apple (AAPL -1.79%), but no other company comes close to being the biggest, cheapest, and fastest-growing company on the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.82%). Check out this chart:

Apple: The Biggest, Cheapest, and Fastest Growing Company in America | Create infographics

So what does this mean for investors? In my opinion, it means that Apple is a bargain right now. Does it face challenges? Of course, but name one company that doesn't. The most recent example is Samsung's partnership with Best Buy (BBY -1.59%) -- though you can click here to see why the pairing may ultimately work out in Apple's favor.

At the same time, the technology giant is sitting on a veritable mountain of cash -- $137 billion, to be precise. And it's preparing to give even more back to shareholders. "Apple's management team and Board of Directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders," read a press release at the beginning of February.

Finally, there's innovation. Sure, Apple hasn't released a truly innovative product since Steve Jobs' passing. Yet it's a mistake to assume the company is now incapable of wowing current and future customers. As my colleague Rick Munarriz wrote last month, "Who knows if Apple isn't going to beat Google to wearable iSpecs, revolutionize the cable industry with a la carte programming, or put out a product that may not seem necessary at first (think iPad) but proves indispensable in short order?"

Investors don't get rich by following the crowd. Had you done so, you would have bought Apple at $700, when hedge fund managers like David Einhorn were proclaiming it'd be the next $1 trillion company. Instead, you get rich by buying great companies at bargain-basement prices. And there are few that fit this description better than Apple.

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Stocks Mentioned

S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,891.42 (-0.82%) $-32.26
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$138.30 (-1.79%) $-2.52
Best Buy Co., Inc. Stock Quote
Best Buy Co., Inc.
$74.42 (-1.59%) $-1.21

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

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