Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is back on top in more ways than one. The iconic tech giant has not only been on a roll with new product announcements and a soaring stock price, it was announced last week that Apple has retaken the top position on Barron’s 2014 list of the world’s most respected companies. Apple was beaten out by Berkshire Hathaway for first place in last year’s list.
Details on 2014 most respected company list
Apple has now earned the number one spot in the annual Barron’s money managers’ survey in four of the past five years.
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) in third and fourth place, respectively, in the 2014 most respected company rankings.
Statement from Barron’s
In a press release regarding this year’s most respected company rankings, Barron’s said that “Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers have enhanced the lives of billions” and opined that investors were impressed by recent company moves such as “a dividend hike, stock buybacks, and a 7-for-1 stock split.”
Analysts are enthusiastic about Apple
Nearly two-thirds of the Wall Street analysts covering Apple have set price targets above $100 a share for the stock. BTIG’s Walter Piecyk argues that new plans by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will allow iPhone owners to upgrade in the fall for no up-front cost, and this will give Apple a big boost in early sales. “We expect AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plan to increase the percentage of AT&T post-paid subscriber base eligible to upgrade to over 65% by the time the next iPhone launches. In absolute terms that is the difference between 10 or 11 million eligible for upgrades and 45-50 million.”
The analysts community is very enthusiastic about Apple’s prospects, with only four of the 24 tech industry analysts surveyed by Fortune expecting Apple’s share price to fall over the next few quarters.