Bulls Versus The Bears On Apple Inc. (AAPL) Shares

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Bulls Versus The Bears On Apple Inc. (AAPL) Shares

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares dropped to the lowest price they’ve been since the middle of Feb. 2012 today. During pre-market trades, the company’s stock was trading at $497 per share. By early afternoon, shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had recovered and even made gains on its opening price, jumping up to $517 per share, but less than two hours later, the stock was falling again, although not to the level of today’s pre-market trades.

So what are shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) really worth? Should we be bullish or bearish on ths stock? Those are the ultimate questions investors and analysts are pondering today.

Bears’ Wins

First of all, we’re seeing analysts at major firms begin to downgrade the stock. Citigroup has lowered its price target to $575 and downgraded the stock to a Neutral rating. Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley reduced is price target to $750, although he maintained his Buy rating on the stock.

Analysts at both Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) and Canaccord feel that the demand for Apple’s latest iPhone model will not continue strongly into 2013, so they’re essentially making cuts as they wait for whatever Apple’s “next big thing” is.

Also Forbes’ Steve Schaefer did a comparison on Appkle’s forward price-to-earnings ratio, which he describes as “the stock price divided by the expected earnings per share for the next fiscal year.” He said at this point shares of Apple are trading around 10.2 times the company’s expected earnings for fiscal year 2013. Schaefer notes that although that figure sounds good, it doesn’t stand up to some of the other major players in the market, like United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X), which is trading at 30.9 times its earnings for next year, and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), which he said is trading at 25.7 times its expected next year earnings.

Bulls’ Wins

On the other hand, Apple announced that it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5 handsets in China’s mainland in only three days. The news came on the heels of concerns that China’s welcome for the new iPhone was less than agreeable. Shorter lines at iPhone retailers had caused those concerns, although last week well-known analyst Gene Munster weighed in on those concerns, giving reasons (other than low demand) for China’s seemingly chilly reception of the iPhone.

Schaefer also looked at another measurement not many analysts or investors consider when valuing a stock. The Shiller P/E shows that shares of Apple go for “a multiple of 45,” which is over twice the S&P 500. This measurement uses Apple’s last 10 years of earnings to determine a value for the company’s stock. He also pointed out that ten years ago, Apple wasn’t the revenue-driven powerhouse it is today, so the Shiller P/E may not tell us the whole story about Apple’s potential for growthin the coming years. Schaefer’s full analysis is definitely worth checking out here, as it contains arguments for both the bulls and the bears.

So what is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) really worth? At the end of the day, it all depends on who you listen to.

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