Home Technology Apple Inc. (AAPL) Investor Sentiment Has Turned Negative: Baird

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Investor Sentiment Has Turned Negative: Baird

According to a report from Baird equity research, the investor sentiment for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has turned decidedly negative, this sentiment is confirmed through stock action, recent investor meetings and conversations. Determining a hard bottom is difficult, though the research firm note that the stock is now trading near its recent P/E trough of roughly 10x forward earnings, with fear creating opportunity. Ultimately, analysts from Baird expect solid near-term fundamentals to allay worst-case concerns, with several potential catalysts in 2013. The firm reiterate its Outperform rating and $750 target price for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Investor Sentiment Has Turned Negative: Baird

Investor concerns (Mentioned in brief points).

The report says, based on recent investor meetings, there are a litany of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) concerns:

Pace of innovation slowing. Perhaps, though multiple opportunities still ahead.

Recent software shortfalls. Yes, though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s software/hardware integration remains tops overall.

Samsung competition. Ditto the above answer.

Gross margins unsustainable. Long-term questions, though iPhone 4 could be a positive proxy for margin improvement in C2013.

Current supply shortages. Checks suggest improvement, though not perfect.

Product cycle visibility. iPad cycle change?

Replacement cycle challenges. Law of large numbers puts onus on market segmentation and new products/markets.

iPhone developing market strategy, or lack thereof. Huge opportunity, though don’t expect near-term solution.

Identity crisis without Jobs. A well-known risk.

Macro impacts. Europe a concern, though U.S. and Asia demand look strong.

 Potential catalysts.

Upside to estimates. Upside to estimates could allay demand and supply concerns.

China upside. China Mobile remains a tantalizing opportunity – 3G or 4G.

– Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iTV. Though timing and approach remain unclear, this remains a sizeable potential opportunity, and importantly could help reaffirm its innovation edge.

Greater software innovation. Long a hallmark, recent software innovation has arguably lagged. We believe one big hit, whether mobile wallet, better maps integration or something else, could quickly reverse innovation concerns.

Expanded dividend or buyback. Though having roughly 70% of its cash overseas presents complications, an expanded dividend or buyback would likely be viewed positively.

Current Valuation.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is currently trading at 10.2x research firm’s calendar 2013 EPS estimate, vs. big-cap tech at roughly 10.0x. That compares to the S&P 500 at 12.5x ’13E. Ex. current cash, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trading at 7.8x firm’s calendar 2013 EPS estimate, with a 2.0% dividend yield. Baird note that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is currently trading near its historical trough NTM P/E multiple.