I am not too surprised by Rich's arguments - they're the same ones that haven't stopped the Apple
Rich may scoff at its high P/E, but not only is expected double-digit growth helpful in justifying the price tag, Apple also has a nice cash cushion, with $10 billion on the balance sheet -- that's $11 per share -- and no debt. And while Rich is quite right to point out the reasons why the stock seems pricey, if it continues to innovate, its expected growth rate could very well beat expectations now -- and of course, a bull case for Apple right now rests on that very conjecture.
Rich points out -- quite rightly -- that value investors shudder at the thought of buying Apple, and that's their prerogative. But that's why there are value investors and growth investors. While growth investors do face the risk of overestimating a company's forward growth and competitive advantage, so do value investors face the risk of identifying a "cheap" stock that doesn't deliver much. Microsoft might be an example of such a "bargain," given its disappointing returns over the last several years. Apple hasn't just gotten older; it's gotten smarter, and it's gotten better (to the tune of that massive return I mentioned in my opener).
Apple has had a rare renaissance. As Rich points out, the Mac has been around since 1984. But despite Apple's age, it has created an innovative new product line which has reinvigorated its business, appealed to the mainstream, and opened up vast new possibilities for how it can charm more and more users into its fold. Apple's giving a whole new meaning to "golden years," and I have become convinced the shine won't leave Apple for quite some time to come.
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