Better-than-predicted results, and shifts from other tech stocks, lifts AAPL toward $600

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Investors seem to have taken heed of analyst ratings in response to the higher-than-predicted earnings Apple reported last week, the share price climbing from $524.75 before the company released its financials to approaching $600 at the time of writing.

Fortune suggests Apple’s results isn’t the only factor at play, with investors perhaps also following Greenlight Capital’s lead in moving out of other tech stock with particularly high price to earnings ratios – the measure of how a share price relates to its earnings. The higher the P/E ratio, the more over-valued it looks according to traditional measures …  Read more

Tim Cook’s revised stock deal cost him $4M this year

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

ComputerWorld noted that Apple’s SEC filing on Friday revealed that Tim Cook lost out on $4M worth of stock as a result of his request to the board in August to revise his compensation arrangements to a deal he felt was fairer to shareholders.

Earlier this year Apple’s board revised Cook’s vesting schedule at his urging. Rather than the two monster stock handouts — which only relied on his continued employment — Cook asked that they be spread out over a 10-year period and tied to the company’s stock performance …  Read more

Institutional money and Icahn shenanigans have AAPL headed back to 52-week highs

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Less than a week after AAPL stock reached a new high for 2013, and two analysts raised their target price in response to Black Friday sales, the stock has also hit a 52-week high, running at $570 at the point of writing.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn doubtless played a role, yesterday tweeting that he would be calling for a (non-binding) shareholder vote on an increased buyback program – though for a smaller amount than he had originally urged.

But Fortune yesterday posted a rather interesting chart that may suggest the upward trend will continue …  Read more

Another report claims short supply of Retina iPad mini due to display shortages from Sharp

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Following several reports this month and hints from Tim Cook that Retina iPad mini stock could be in short supply when the device launches next month, the hit and miss DigiTimes reports today that the shortages are due to limited supply of displays from Apple’s supplier Sharp. Specifically, the report claims that Sharp’s “Oxide TFT process is seeing low yield rates” leading to a less than ideal supply of  7.9-inch Retina panels. Sharp accounts for around 40% of the displays for iPad mini with Retina display production, while LG Display is providing the other approximately 60%, according to the report: Read more

AAPL hits $500 for the first time since January following Icahn investment

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Following comments from billionaire investor Carl Icahn that he had taken a “large position” in Apple and discussed a larger buyback with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple’s stock experienced a new six-month high of over $488 per share. Today, AAPL continues to climb and has passed the $500 mark for the first time in nearly eight months since January 23rd.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal yesterday, Icahn noted that he expects Apple shares will soon rise above $600 and explained his proposal for increasing the stock buyback:

“This is a no-brainer to go buy stock in a company that can go borrow” at a low rate, Mr. Icahn said in an interview. “Buy the company here and even without earnings growth, we think it ought to be worth $625,” he said, referring to the stock price, which closed Tuesday at $489.57, having risen 5% on the news of Mr. Icahn’s investment.

Mr. Icahn’s thesis rests on Apple borrowing at about a 3% interest rate and buying back shares right now, likely at around $525 a piece. A stock buyback can increase earnings per share by reducing the number of shares outstanding.

While Icahn didn’t provide any financial details, WSJ adds that sources say his stake in Apple is now worth over $1.5 billion. Read more