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Don’t worry about Apple, this portfolio manager says

Investors looking to trim their positions in tech should leave their shares of Apple (Apple Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials NASDAQ:AAPL) where they are, says Paul Harris of Harris Douglas Asset Management. Despite supply chain concerns, Harris says Apple products aren’t losing any lustre with consumers and that makes for a solid company and stock to own.

The market’s distrust of Big Tech is showing no signs of letting up this month, as names like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft continue to lose ground amid worries over the economy, rising interest rates and higher inflation, all of which are playing into a generally more defensive mood among investors.

And while the tech bigwigs that make up acronyms like FAANG and MAMAA still make up an outsized percentage of the overall market, their future growth in a post-pandemic world is being questioned. In Apple’s case, the noise is around manufacturing amid global supply chain challenges. Management set the tone in a quarterly report last month where it pointed to materials shortages and pandemic-related supply disruptions as likely to result in a $4 to $8 billion hit to revenue in the current quarter.

Apple reported its fiscal second quarter 2022 financials which beat on top and bottom lines, showing revenue up almost nine per cent year-over-year to $97.28 billion versus the consensus call of $93.89 billion and EPS at $1.52 per share versus the Street’s forecast of $1.43 per share. 

But the chill came in the company’s conference call where CFO Luca Maestri pointed to the likely drop in sales for the company’s fiscal Q3.

“We believe our year-over-year revenue performance during the June quarter will be impacted by a number of factors. Supply constraints caused by COVID-related disruptions and industrywide silicon shortages are impacting our ability to meet customer demand for our products. We expect these constraints to be in the range of $4 billion to $8 billion, which is substantially larger than what we experienced during the March quarter. The COVID-related disruptions are also having some impact on customer demand in China,” Maestri said on the conference call.

Since hitting a high of $182 in early January, Apple’s stock is currently down about 23 per cent, which is par for the course or even a bit better than most tech names in 2022. The NASDAQ Index is year-to-date down a full 28 per cent, for example, compared to the broader S&P 500 which is down about 17 per cent.

Harris says investors can rest easy with Apple since whatever concerns the market has about it getting products into customers’ hands has likely already been baked into the share price.

“Apple is a company we’ve owned for a long time and we continue to like it,” said Harris, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. “It’s trading at 21x earnings now and there’s a very small [dividend] yield, of course, but I think that one of the things that Apple has done very well is its use of free cash flow to buy back its shares.”

“This quarter they said they’re going to have a problem with iPhone deliveries but all that means is just pushing forward that number down the road. I think the iPhone will be fine,” he said. “I think on the Services side, it’s quite incredible how well they’ve grown Services over the last little while. And things like these earphones that I’m using right now, the wearables, have done incredibly well.”

Apple’s sales continue to rely heavily on the iconic iPhone, which delivered revenue of $50.570 billion for the recent fiscal Q2. That compared to $10.435 billion for its Mac line, $7.646 billion for the iPad and $8.806 billion for Wearables, Home and Accessories. Apple’s Services revenue, which is comprised of businesses such as AppleCare, Payments, Cloud Services and digital advertising, reported quarterly revenue of $19.821 billion, up from $16.901 billion a year ago.

As far as its regions go, sales in the Americas were pretty much the lone bright spot over Apple’s second quarter, where sales went from $34.306 billion a year ago to $40.882 billion. Europe sales were up about $1 billion to $23.287 billion, while Greater China sales were up a half a billion dollars and Japan and the Rest of Asia Pacific were relatively flat year-over-year.

Harris said buying into the current market is tough but investors might be able to pick some good entry points.

“Apple may have a couple of quarters that are going to be difficult because of supply chain issues, but that’s nothing to do with their products [which] are very good and they’re selling very well,” Harris said. “So, we own and we continue to think it’s worth buying here.”

“[Apple] has given pretty good guidance about what they’re going to see. With this kind of volatility you can always probably buy these things cheaper, but I think people have discounted all that stuff already about how Apple is going look, but I think on a bad volatility day maybe you can pick it up and own the company, own a great business,” he said.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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