This past week we’ve talked about the recent public disclosures made about the investments of some of the world’s best investors.
The biggest news was Warren Buffett’s new $1 billion plus stake in Apple.
Apple’s stock price peaked in April of last year (following a 65% rolling 12-month return). Much of that run up was driven by activist efforts of Carl Icahn. Icahn influenced sentiment in the stock, but also influenced value creation for shareholders by pressuring Apple management to buy back stock.
But since peaking last April (2015), Apple shares had lost nearly 34% as of earlier this month. Icahn dumped his stake and made it public in late April.
And then we find this past week that Buffett is now long (he’s in).
So should you follow Buffett? Is it the bottom for Apple? And what makes Apple a classic Buffett stock?
First, Buffett has compounded money at 19.2% annualized over a 50 year period. That’s made him the second wealthiest man in the world.
Buffett loves to buy low. He has a long and successful record of buying when everyone else is selling. Buffett purchased his Apple stake last quarter when Apple was near its 52-week low.
But he famously stays away from technology. Why Apple? For Buffett, Apple is a global, dominant brand. That trumps sector. He loves brand name companies with a loyal customer base, and there is probably no company on the planet with a more loyal customer base then Apple. Plus, one could argue that Apple is a consumer services company (with 700 million credit cards on file, charging customers for movies, songs, apps …).
Generally Buffett pays less than 12 times earnings for a company. Of course there are exceptions, but Apple fits this criterion perfectly with a P/E of 10.
Buffett loves companies that have a high return-on-invested-capital (ROIC) and low debt. Apple has an ROIC of 28%, extremely high. Companies with a high ROIC usually have a “wide moat” or a competitive advantage over the rest of the world. That gives them pricing power to drive wide margins.
Apple really is the classic Buffett stock. And now that Buffett has put his stamp of approval on Apple, we believe the stock has bottomed, especially since it’s so cheap compared to the overall stock market. And he’s not the only billionaire value investor who loves Apple. Billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn also loves Apple. He increased his Apple stake last quarter to 15% of his entire hedge fund, almost $900 million dollars worth.
Don’t Miss Out On This Stock
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We make investing easy. We follow the guys with the power and the influence to control their own destiny – and a record of unmatchable success. And you come along for the ride.
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