Apple began trading as part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average last week, and at least one analyst believes the addition to that index is at least partially to blame for a mini-flash crash in Apple stock on Friday.
It doesn’t seem to matter much today though as a pair of bullish reports on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), including one from hyper-bull Brian White, are boosting the company’s shares.
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Last-minute Apple trades trash options
The last 10 minutes of regular trading hours on Friday were marked by a sudden decline of nearly $2 per share. Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities pointed out that the call options with strike prices of $126, $127 and $128 that expired over the weekend became worthless in those 10 minutes, reports Street Insider.
Those short 10 minute also caused put options with $126, $127 and $128 strike prices suddenly worth a cumulative $15.5 million. As a result, investors who had a sizeable chunk of put options on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) at those strike prices raked in a tidy profit.
Apple stock manipulated on Friday?
Chowdhry suggested that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s addition to the Dow Jones “would have provided an excellent opportunity to Short the Calls and Long the Puts.” The analyst further suggested that the sudden dip in share price also causes more investors to worry that the stock market is rigged.
Forbes contributor Chuck Jones provided more clarity on Chowdhry’s comment regarding the possibility of the market being rigged.
He went so far as to write, “While he doesn’t add why Apple being included in the Dow would make the shares more susceptible to these types of movements I do agree that since it occurred when a large number of options were expiring it does raise the question that the shares were being manipulated.”
Apple worth $1 trillion: Cantor Fitzgerald
Today shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose as much as 1.34% to $127.59 per share, recovering to Friday’s pre-crash level on the back of at least two positive analyst reports. Cowen analysts bumped up their price target for Apple from $115 to $135 per share, which is still far short of Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White’s new target of $180 per share. His previous target for Apple was $160 per share.
White is arguably Apple’s biggest bear, and he said in his report today that Apple’s market capitalization will go to $1 trillion. He certainly isn’t the first to suggestion this valuation for Apple, with comments on this topic reaching as far back as early 2013.
As recently as November, Omega Advisors executive Steve Einhorn said Apple will “eventually” hit a $1 trillion valuation.
Why White thinks Apple is worth $1 trillion
In his research note, White noted that Apple will be entering its first new product category in five years with the release of the Apple Watch, which he expects Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to sell 20.6 million units of in its first year. Several media reports have also suggested that the company is innovating in other areas, like with electric cars. If Apple does release a car, White believes the company will see a new opportunity worth $549 billion.
White also thinks the iPhone is doing exceptionally well and that iPhone sales and the company’s position in China “have never been stronger.” Further, he added that Apple management’s commitment to return capital to shareholders should further boost the company’s stock price.