Apple Inc. (AAPL) Stock Sentiment Hit The Skids Under Cook

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has hit the skids again, trending back downward this week after not having enough steam to reach the year to date high it hit in April. A lot is riding on the iPhone 7, which could be unveiled in less than a month, so investors might be starting to hold back as they wait to see what the next model has in store for consumers. Indeed, trading volume on Thursday was quite low with about 22 million shares changing hands, compared to the average daily volume of 32.37 million shares.

Apple (AAPL) stock less trendy?

Or maybe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock in general is just becoming less trendy now, as Tomi Kilgore of MarketWatch suggests that it has just “gotten a bad rap” under the leadership of Tim Cook. As he notes, the iPhone maker became the most valuable company in the U.S. under Cook, although while Steve Jobs was leader, it soared from the 459th most valuable company into second place.

He also defends Cook, questioning why investors seem to be unhappy with the company despite Cook’s accomplishments over the last five years. When Cook took the helm in August 2011, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s market capitalization was nearly $350 billion, which was just under ExxonMobil’s more than $352 billion. The company’s market cap now stands at roughly $575.5 billion after peaking at around $750 billion.

Additionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has more than doubled while Cook has been at the helm, outpacing the broader market to climb 101%, compared to the S&P 500’s 85% gain. Of course, it did underperform the NASDAQ Composite (but not by much), which has gained 113% over the same timeframe. Alphabet and Amazon shares almost quadrupled.

Kilgore also argues that Apple stock is on another bull run, in fact, the third bull market for it since Cook took the helm. Of course on the flip side, in order for there to be a bull market, it suggests that a bear market preceded it, he notes. Cook also oversaw Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s addition to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but Kilgore notes that some believe it was a bad idea because the stock has declined 15% since joining the Dow, compared to the Dow’s 3% gain.

Concerns about the iPhone weigh on Apple (AAPL) stock

Overall, he comes down on the side of Tim Cook, although arguably the biggest concern that has shaken Apple during Cook’s tenure is something Steve Jobs never really had to deal with, which is falling iPhone sales. When Cook took over in 2011, the iPhone was still relatively new, having been introduced in 2007. Now Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is having to deal with the fact that next year will be the tenth anniversary of the smartphone some believe changed everything.

But the fact is that it’s getting more difficult to make the iPhone into something new every year, which maybe the main reason this year’s iPhone 7 probably won’t be much of an improvement from last year’s model. The iPhone 6s brought the first year over year unit decline, which may be more about the fact that the world has had iPhones for nearly a decade now, although Cook certainly does not have the reputation for innovation his predecessor had.

Like it or not, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is heavily dependent on iPhone sales, and until another blockbuster product comes along, it will remain so. The iPhone made up more than 60% of trailing 12-month revenue by product segment, according to a post from The Motley Fool, which is precisely why Wall Street has hit the pause button on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock. Investors are being cautious until they see how consumers will respond to the iPhone 7, as analysts try to keep riding high on the hype, unconvinced that Apple will ever fall back to the position it once occupied in the years before the iPhone and especially before the iPod when it was teetering on the edge.

Concerns that the iPhone might have peaked are now front of mind because investors may be concerned that Apple is again heading for a direction that will leave it teetering on the edge. Times are certainly much different now than they were then, as bulls would consider the company as being almost “too big to fail.”

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock closed down 0.43% at $107.57 on Thursday.

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