Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is moving dangerously close to losing its position as a Wall Street darling, but it isn’t there yet. There are still plenty of perma-bulls casting their net widely for potential catalysts for Apple stock that don’t have the word “iPhone” in them. The Services business continues to be a headliner, but now, bulls have another reason to grateful for the shelter they feel Apple stock could provide at times like this.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan said in a note on Thursday that Apple stock is “a name to own in volatile market conditions.” He explained that at times of extreme volatility, he prefers “large cap stocks with low leverage, high cash balance, and attractive valuation,” and he believes that the iPhone maker offers not only all of these features, but future growth opportunities as well.
He noted that Apple’s balance sheet is still strong, with about $32 per share in net cash and investments, as is its capital return program. He expects an announcement about additional capital return authorization sometime around April, and he believes it might be higher than the usual $30 billion to $50 billion that’s authorized annually. At this point, the company has carried out more than $248 billion of its $300 billion capital return plan.