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Apple Stock Price – Where is it Heading – Capital Effects of Share Repurchases by Apple ðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽ

February 16, 2015

 Apple’s Capital Return Program. Apple’s share repurchase program was initiated in April 2013, and has been an unqualified success that has dramatically benefited shareholders since its inception.

 Apple’s share repurchase program ultimately affects shares outstanding, take a look at how Apple’s shares outstanding has plunged in recent years, where “plunging” is a very good thing for investors.

 Apple Stock Price – Where are Values Heading – Capital Effects of Share Repurchases by Apple. Apple has reduced its total shares outstanding by roughly 11.5% in the last two years, bringing its share-count to levels that the company hasn’t seen in a decade.

🍎 $127 per Share based on current (Feb 13th) Market trading, however, if one deducts $22/sh for Apple’s Cash, $AAPL shares are trading at [math: ($127-$22)/7.385 = P/E Ratio of 14.2x]
🍎 $145 per Share based on Apple’s actual Earnings of $7.385/share using the average P/E Ratio of 17x of the S&P500, then add $22/share for Cash on Apple’s financial statement
🍎 $160 per Share based on Apple’s actual Earnings of $7.385/share using the P/E Ratio of 20x [S&P500 average is 17x], Certainly Apple is better than Average], equals $148/sh, then add $22/share for Cash on Apple’s financial statement
🍎 $185 per Share based on Apple’s actual Earnings of $7.385/share, using the P/E Ratio on 25x [equals the P/E multiple of $GOOG], then add $22/sh for the Cash on Apple’s financial statement
🍎 $216 per Share based on Carl Icahn’s analysis described in detail in a previous article, below.

 The Law of Simple Division. When the Divisor decreases the Quotient increases. In other words for a Given Numerator, when the Denominator decreases the Value increases. With a particular Earnings level, when the total number of shares decreases, Earnings per Share increases. That’s a major contributory factor in Apple’s earnings-per-share growth has outpaced Apple’s net income growth in the recent 10 quarterly reports. For example, $AAPL last quarter earnings per share soared 48%, and easily outpacing net income growth of 39%.

 Apple as of this writing has repurchased $73 Billion in $AAPL shares. That’s an incredible sum that exceeds the market caps of most public companies.

 Buying back stock in Apple’s case, inevitably reduces shares outstanding. When the repurchase plan [a/k/a Apple’s Capital Return Program] was authorized by the Board, there were 6.580 Billion shares outstanding. Today there are 5.825 Billion Apple Shares outstanding, representing a global reduction of 755 Million Shares.

 Apple share prices are cheap relative to the S&P500 where all the companies on average trade at P/E Ratio of 17x. In the wake of last quarter earnings report, Apple continues to push higher into uncharted territory, hitting all-time high Capitalization levels, becoming the first company to ever top $700 Billion in market cap. In fact, if Apple hadn’t been repurchasing shares so aggressively, its market cap would be roughly $800 Billion presently.

 Apple’s timing on its repurchases have been very successful. The company “bet big on itself” during the Market pullback of $AAPL shares that occurred in 2013, which has paid off handsomely for Apple.

 Apple has long been cheap by many traditional valuation metrics (even now Apple trades at a significant discount (14x vs. 17x) to the overall S&P500). Therefore it was a logical and prudent call from Apple’s management perspective, to buy-back Apple shares, even 755 Million shares worth.

 Apparently many in the Investment Banking community and their Analysts are having difficulty grasping the dynamics of Apple’s huge earnings capabilities, as Apple has been increasing earnings, margins, average selling prices, and unit sales, sequentially, and on a year-over-year basis.

 Rumor has it, Apple will aggressively increase the Capital Restoration allocations from the present level of $130 Billion, to be announced when Apple Reports its next quarter results, mid-April, 2015.

 Apple is an Exception to the Law of Large Numbers. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s discussion at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference last week [2/10/15] was a virtual tutorial on how to beat the supposed “Law of Large Numbers.” How does Apple do it? Simple, Apple moves into adjacent markets with superior products, and expands geographically into under-served regions.

 Apple CEO Tim Cook clearly believes that this strategy will continue in the years ahead, and frankly I wholeheartedly agree. Cook has been professing this strategy for years, while “Wall Street” beats on Apple for not even trying to build an “affordable” smart phone to increase the “numbers.” Tim Cook reiterates at every occasion that folk listen that “for Apple its about creating high quality products that changes peoples lives.”

 The Law of Large Numbers, in classic Investopedia, states that A small company is more likely to grow at higher percentage rates than a large company. Large companies cannot grow at high percentage rates indefinitely, since they would eventually outgrow their nimbleness.

 The Law of Large Numbers seems intuitively obvious… but the “LAW” does not exactly define at what point in the growth of a company does the law take effect? Also, the Law ignores the effect of overall market growth.

 Apple which serves the smartphone market, where Apple has been growing explosively in the past few years, should be able to at least match that growth without the risk of outgrowing the market. However, in fact Apple sold 90% more iPhones than the prior sequential quarterly period. IMHO, these issues are not well digested nor understood by many of the WSJ Analysts.

 Activist investor Carl Icahn last week, [February 11, 2015] again gives praise to Apple, saying that Apple is an Amazing Company that continues break all records for productivity, growth and innovation. Icahn also notes that Apple’s stock continues to be significantly undervalued by the Market and its Analysts.

 Apple management agrees whole hardily, which is why Apple Inc has committed 90 $Billion to buy its own stock. Where best to invest its vast $Billions in Apple’s coffers, than in its own company. Apple’s cash is now at approximately $178 Billion and growing at a rate of $6 Billion/month.

 Icahn says Apple’s common stock should be trading at a price of $216 per share today. Although today [February 12,2015] $AAPL was trading between a range of $127.44 to $126.05.

 Apple’s share-buy-back program is $90 Billion; if executed in full at current share prices, would in effect retire 708,660,400 shares reducing the shares outstanding by about 12%. In fact Apple’s buy-back program commenced in 2013, and Apple is expected to increase the $90B allocation significantly at the April, 2015 Quarterly Report filing and subsequent conference call.

 Icahn is extremely confident that his massive investment in $AAPL was at “bargain prices” even though Apple stock price has increased steadily over the past year.

 Icahn is one of Apple Inc’s ten largest shareholders with an Apple stock portfolio of 52,760,848 shares, as of year-end 2014, worth $6.7006 Billion Investment at today’s trading [$127 as of Feb 12, 2015]. For anyone’s portfolio, this is “confidence exemplified.”

 Carl Icahn says a realistic valuation of $AAPL should be 20 times Earnings per share. Taking into consideration Apple’s after-tax cash reserves of $178 Billion, that would compute to a share price of $216/share, yielding a Apple capitalization of $1.3 Trillion, that’s $1300 Billion.

============= Previously Reported =============

 Icahn is assuming a 20% tax rate when he calculated the $9.70 EPS target for Apple. He did not use the 26.2% effective tax rate estimated by Apple in computing its real cash earnings held off-shore. Many Investment Bankers have estimated that Apple’s effective Tax rate ranges from 18% to 25%, depending on how Apple utilizes its off-shore retained earnings.

 Congress is currently considering Legislation that provides a special Tax Holiday to major US domiciled corporations that sell products globally. If this legislative initiative is enacted, Apple would be able to repatriate some $130 billion back into the USA, at a tax rate of 7% to 9%; this legislation would have the effect of significantly reducing Apple’s effective tax rate.

 Icahn said, “We consider this [$AAPL’s huge cash hoard equates to $22/share] an essential adjustment that many analysts and investors simply fail to understand,” said Icahn. He explained that Apple does not reveal its plans to permanently invest its international earnings unlike many companies like Google Inc.

 Apple states that according to “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles [GAAP] the rules require that Apple [or any similar company] accounting for its income statement and must accrue for the income tax on the un-remitted earnings.

 Carl Icahn maintains these taxes on Apple’s un-remitted earnings representing a provision for a non-cash tax, is overly conservative, as Apple will likely not repatriate the international cash earnings at today’s [35%] federal tax rate.

 If Congress were to Legislate a Tax-Holiday to encourage the repatriation of $Billions in off-shore retained earnings by many of the biggest Corporations, and if Apple took advantage of this Repatriation Legislation, it would restate it financial statement.

 Icahn emphasized that the correct way to treat Apple’s non-cash tax for the purpose of valuation is to “add back the effective non-cash tax provision” into Apple’s earnings” which assumption is reflected in Icahn’s FY2015 EPS [earnings per share] target for Apple.

 Market Analysts, Traders, and Investors, still values Apple at discounted multiple to earnings. Icahn also noted that the market still values Apple at a “significantly discounted multiple, a P/E Ratio of only 10x” compared with the 17x average multiple for the entire S&P 500. Question: is Apple considered an “Average Performer” in anyone’s estimation; I think not.

 Should $AAPL be trading at the S&P500 average, since Apple’s performance is anything but “average.” For example, currently $GOOG is trading at some 25x earnings, for a great company and certainly just as great as Apple, yet $AAPL trades at 17x multiple, and without any provision for its $22/share for extraordinary Cash held in its balance sheet.

 An interested Investor may take $AAPL current earnings per share [EPS] of $7.385/share, then extends the EPS using the 25x Earnings Multiple [the same earnings P/E multiple that $GOOG is currently trading], results in a share price of $185/share with no adjustment for Apple’s future earnings growth, tax treatment, nor Apple’s vast cash holdings equating to $22 per share outstanding. [the math: $7.385×25=$185/share rounded to nearest whole dollar]. These are the reasons why Carl Icahn is extremely “Bullish” on $AAPL, and has “put his money where his mouth is” in buying 52,760,848 shares of $AAPL.

 Lets look at the Numbers. Several days ago, $AAPL was trading at $122/share. If one takes into account Apple’s vast Cash from retained earnings, it equates to $22 per share outstanding. Its common to remove extraordinary Cash from the equation; therefore $AAPL is trading at an effective $100/share discounted for the Cash on Apple’s balance sheet. Investment bankers generally do not apply Earnings Multiples to extraordinary cash reserves.

 Compare Apple’s adjusted price per share, $100/share to Apple’s forecasted 2015 forward-earnings of say $9.70/share, this equates to a Price Earnings Ratio of 10.3x. Compare Apple’s P/E Ratio, with the P/E Ratio of the entire S&P 500, whose blended average of all these companies, the S&P500 is trading at 17x and $AAPL would be trading at 164.90 per share. These facts are giving support for Carl Icahn purchasing 52,760,848 shares of $AAPL last year.

 Carl Icahn says $AAPL is trading at only 60% of the average stock prices of the S&P 500. Admittedly, it is difficult to ignore these figures. In my personal experience, as a Banker, we bought over 30 Florida Banks for Royal Thrust Bank. When we determined xMultiple that we were willing to pay for the Shares of the target, the Balance Sheet was adjusted for extraordinary levels of Retained Earnings shown as Cash or Cash Equivalents, and Bank Buildings owned Free of Mortgages.

 Apple is being very aggressive with its Stock Buy-Back plan, as Apple’s management and Board of Directors also feel that $AAPL is “trading” at prices representing a significant discount. I’m not an investment advisor, and from time to time we’ve owned $AAPL shares; however, as business man it appears to me too that $AAPL is “trading” at prices that are significantly discounted.

 Investment Bankers [IB firms] that offer [published] Opinions about NYSE and NASDAQ listed Stocks that are widely held, may soon revalue their projections as to $AAPL’s target per-share price point, in light of Apple’s superlative quarterly financial performance disclosed at January’s quarterly conference call. Recently several of the highly respected IB firms have increased their Target Prices to $135-$145/share.

 These Target Prices of $135-$145/share although higher than previously published, remain significantly conservative, in light of $AAPL relatively low P/E Ratio. It seems to me that many of the IB firms cannot grasp that $AAPL grows at rates, while increasing profit margins, like no other huge company has ever performed.

 Accordingly, the discrepancy in the P/E multiple between Apple and the broad market index is according to Carl Icahn “totally irrational” and the market is “somehow missing some very basic principles of valuation.” “When a company’s future earnings are expected to grow at a much faster rate than that of the S&P 500, the market should value that company at a higher P/E multiple,” said Icahn.

 Icahn estimated that Apple’s EPS, earnings per share, will grow 20% annually for the fiscal 2016 and 2017. If Apple launched a TV next year or the year after, he expects a 31% annual EPS growth. Icahn believes further, that the market should value Apple at $216 per share (at P/E of at least 20x together when taking into account the net cash adjustment of $22 per share).

 Icahn says “$216 per share is not a future price target. $216 per share is what we think Apple is worth now.”

 One more thing… If we use Apple’s existing earnings/share report and have its Shares trading at just the average S&P500 earnings multiple, a P/E Ratio of 17x, then the value of Company would be $125.55 [math: $7.385×17=$125.55]. To complete the $AAPL Share value lets add back Apple’s cash of $22/share [math: 125.55+22=$145.55/share].

 $145.55/Share for $AAPL is the most conservative valuation for Apple’s share price using $AAPL actual earnings performance and applying the S&P500 average P/E Ratio of 17x for those companies that included in the S&P500.

 $AAPL share valuation. The best valuation for capital stock of a publicly traded company, is what the Market is willing to pay. This “rule” applies to real property sales Above I have attempted to explain Carl Icahn’s $216 per share valuation.

 With most markets where capital stock is trading, demand and desire dictate prices; For example, if there are more “Sellers” than “Buyers” then share prices tend downward regardless of valuations. For example, if there are more “Buyers” than “Sellers” then share prices tend upward regardless of valuations.

 Several alternative Valuations using other methodologies for $AAPL per share valuation that were discussed in this article are summarized as follows:

🍎 $127 per Share based on current Market trading
🍎 $145 per Share based on Apple’s actual Earnings of $7.385/share using the average P/E Ratio of 17x of the S&P500, then add back $22 per share of cash on Apple’s financial statement
🍎 $185 per Share based on Apple’s actual Earnings of $7.385/share, using the average P/E Ratio on 25x [the P/E multiple of $GOOG], then add back $22 per share of cash on Apple’s financial statement
🍎 $216 per Share based on Carl Icahn’s analysis described above.

 The Carl Icahn “equation” in determining $AAPL share value is based firstly on removing the Cash from Apple’s Balance sheet, and restating this Cash, about $178,000,000,000. Dividing this by the number of outstanding number of shares, yields $22/Share just for Apple’s Cash, its retaining earnings.

 Therefore, if $AAPL is trading at $122/share, and that includes $22/share for Apple’s Cash, then Investors are actually paying $100/share for the value of the company, plus $22 for Apple’s cash hoard.

 Apple trading at $100/share based on Apple’s current Earnings Per Share, EPS of $7.385 excluding Apple’s cash, therefore Apple’s adjusted P/E Ratio is effectively 13.5x [math: 100/7.385 = 13.5x] based on Apple’s recent earnings report. If one were to recalculate the EPS using Carl Icahn’s $9.70/share going-forward 2015 earnings forecast, Icahn’s P/E Multiple is about 10x Earnings [math: 100/9.7 = 10.3x].

 Carl Icahn is additionally comforted in these figures as $AAPL continues and is likely to accelerate its Stock Repurchase. If $AAPL buys back $75 Billion of its shares at a price of $125, this will have the effect of retiring 600,000,000 shares of its capital stock. This also has the effect of increasing earnings/share, as fewer shares are outstanding.

============= Previously Reported =============

★★ Apple has hired about 50 employees who previously worked at Tesla, according to LinkedIn postings. Many of these hires were engineers who interned at Tesla. Most of the engineers Apple has hired from Tesla specialize in Mechanics, Manufacturing, and Robotics.

★★ Think of these possibilities. Apple may indeed be building some kind of vehicle, an iCar perhaps, this is outside the company’s core products;

★★ Steve Jobs was Enamored with an iCar in Apple’s future, as is Tim Cook.

★★ Apple is also working on new iPhone-to-Car experiences that will compete with what Tesla presently offers in its vehicles. Apple has an initiative called CarPlay that lets you control certain cars’ entertainment and other systems with your smartphone. CarPlay was supposed to come out in 2014 but has been delayed; it has only just started to emerge in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.

★★ The Apple employee, whose email was exposed, is talking about using your iPhone to unlock and drive a CarPlay-partner Car without needing a key. Tesla began offering this feature with its 6.0 system update last year. Or perhaps a much deeper set of integrated experiences with navigation, audio, and other systems.

★★ Whether or not Apple is working on the iCar, the company is competing with Tesla for top talent. Tesla has hired about 150 people from Apple so far, according to Bloomberg, and Apple has reportedly tried to appeal to potential Tesla hires with $250,000 signing bonuses and huge salary hikes.

★ The “Juicy Gossip” for 2015 is Elon Musk’s remarks that Apple, believe it…, APPLE is recruiting senior TESLA folks with $250,000 Signing Bonuses coupled with 60% Pay Increases… This is very interesting news, as it’s coming from Tesla’s CEO, and it sets up the next question…

★ Would Apple be interested in Key Tesla employees, other than just attracting great talent, Companies recruit talent all the time, offering senior level positions, pay increases, and yes attractive “signing bonuses” … Is Apple interested in developing a high-technology Green CAR, or simply wants particular talents.

★★ According to a report from Business Insider, an unsolicited email from an employee at Apple read, “Latest project is too exciting to pass up,” and, “I think it will change the landscape and give TESLA a huge run for its money.”

★★ Many TESLA employees are “jumping ship” and choosing to work at Apple with attractive pay-packages, to be a part of this unidentified [automobile] project, according to an internal Apple email, .

★★ You can bet that Apple will Not be discussing this [automotive] project in public until its ready for production; if and when the project is ready for announcement, at the very best 6 to 9 months before its ready to deliver to the marketplace.

★★ Last week there were pictures captured of a “Apple Van” that was rigged with that looks similar to the vehicles created by Google Inc (GOOG) for mapping and have multiple cameras on top of the roof.

★★ There were speculations that the vehicle was running as a part of an unspecified mapping project from Apple, which has been making efforts in recent months to upgrade Maps to stand parallel to Google’s Street View.

★★ Other rumors suggested the company is working on a self-driving car, which seems to be pretty distant given the company’s tendency to work on only a few products at a time, says a report from MacRumors.

★★ “We have zero issue coming up with things we want to do, said Tim Cook last January. “We must focus on the very few that deserve all our energy.”

★★ Bloomberg also has an interesting twist on the story, that focuses not so much on the competitive inter-hiring between the two companies, but on their similarities, which includes drawing parallels between their mercurial or iconoclastic founders. It all makes for fascinating reading, giving insight into the games played between top employers in one of the country’s most competitive job markets.

★★ While Elon Musk was complaining about “its employees being stolen by Apple,” Musk also says his company is hard at work on a new charger that will auto-emerge from the wall of your garage and hook-up to a Model S and commence charging. To make the technology a bit more impressive, Elon Musk claims the system works with all previous and current versions of the company’s electric car.

★ Folks complain about electric cars, the gripes generally focus on the car’s ugly, or range anxiety or the hassle of waiting for the battery to charge. Plugging the vehicle into the charger is seldom that big of a deal. However, for the contingent of customers who find hooking-up their model to be too torturous, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk appears to have a bizarre and interesting solution on the way

★ Musk raised the idea of Auto-Charging a Model S, and all prior models, during the Tesla D unveiling by saying… “we will probably do something like that.” He didn’t explain much more at the time, though. There still aren’t many hard details on the scheme, but the idea of having a robotic snake living in the garage is both somewhat nightmarish and amazingly cool. We can’t wait to see this thing in action.




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