Is Apple Stock “So Done”? Gamco’s Ward Sees More Growth Ahead

Apple stock hasn’t done anything over the last 12 months, according to Gamco’s Howard Ward, but he thinks 2016 will be a much better year. He’s expecting financial engineering to give the stock a boost over the next few months, followed by more growth thanks to the iPhone 7.

Ward: Apple stock is a “low expectation stock”

Ward, Growth Equities CIO at Gamco spoke with Bloomberg‘s Tom Keene, who described Apple as being “so done.” But his introduction of Ward starts out a bit misleading, and Ward in particular is bullish on Apple stock, as he thinks investors’ expectations for the company are just too low.

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“It’s become a low expectation stock in terms of the way it’s priced, and it has in fact done nothing for the last 12 months, but we’re now moving into I think a better season for Apple.”

In the next three weeks, he’s expecting announcements about an increase in the iPhone maker’s dividend and share repurchases and expects the iPhone 7 to be a “very big win.” He noted that Apple continues to gain market share all around the world and that nearly all of the profits from mobile phones now go to Apple, meaning that there really aren’t any other players in terms of profits in the industry.

He also thinks the company can maintain its gross margins and pointed out that brand loyalty among iPhone users is still high. Further, he thinks Apple stock is priced as if the company has no growth in its future, but he sees great potential for growth.

Apple stock weighs on hedge funds

This year has been a rocky one for hedge funds, and analysis of hedge fund holdings indicates that the weak performance of Apple stock plays a big role in that. Goldman Sachs said earlier this month that 47 major hedge funds had the iPhone maker as one of their ten biggest holdings as of the end of last year. Mutual funds are also struggling, but it has less to do with Apple stock as it was their second-biggest underweight holding at the end of the year, reports Reuters.

Citing data from Morningstar, the media outlet reports that the average hedge fund posted returns of -3.3% last month, underperforming the average large-cap core mutual fund, which declined -.8% during the month. Meanwhile, mutual funds have preferred Facebook, CVS Health, and Cisco Systems over Apple, said Goldman earlier this month.