by Robert Martin | April 8, 2014 6:45 am
Apple (AAPL) has been on a bit of a rollercoaster in recent months, roaring back in the second half of 2013, then slumping early in 2014. From last July to year’s end, AAPL stock soared over 40%, more than doubling the broader market’s climb.
But so far this year, shares of Apple stock are off more than 5% while the S&P 500 has at least managed to stay flat.
A few big, upcoming events are on the calendar and could potentially get AAPL moving in the right direction again, though … or accelerate its slide. Take a look at three things all Apple stock investors should be watching at the moment:
On April 23, Apple will report its fiscal second-quarter earnings. The consensus estimate from AAPL stock analysts is $10.14 per share — a nickel more than last year, translating to growth of just under 1%. If that seems unimpressive, it is — especially considering those same Apple stock analysts were expecting $10.88 per share just three months ago. Sales are also supposed to dip slightly year-over-year.
Of course, that low bar could also come in handy, as it may help Apple continue its run of earnings beats. The company has beaten analysts expectations in each of the last four quarters … although just barely.
Then again, an earnings beat wasn’t enough in the fiscal first quarter. Apple beat on the top and bottom lines, but AAPL stock still slumped since the company shipped fewer iPhones than expected.
After second-quarter Apple earnings, the next big event is the annual World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). The conference will take place June 2-6 in San Francisco, and will likely result in several announcements AAPL stock holders will care about.
As Heather Kelly of CNN recently explained, AAPL usually makes operating system and software announcements at WWDC. Here’s what she expects this year:
Finally, an ongoing thing that Apple stock investors should keep an eye on is its super hefty cash pile … and not because of dividends and buybacks. As Dan Burrows recently wrote, a dividend hike and buyback increase are widely expected in the aforementioned upcoming early report … and thus “already reflected in the AAPL stock price.”
Instead, AAPL stock investors need to wait and see if the company does something substantial with its cash hoard …. like possibly making a game-changing acquisition. While companies like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG) have been rushing to buy every up-and-coming tech company, Apple has been in no rush to go on a shopping spree. In fact, Apple has never made an acquisition costing more than $1 billion.
Still, that hasn’t stopped speculation that something big will take place. A recent New York Times article, for example, suggests that a move toward the car market could be in the cards, based on past rumors that the company was talking about building a car and buying Tesla (TSLA).
It’s hard to say whether a big move like that is actually coming up for Apple … but investors should definitely keep an eye out for clues at the first two events we talked about.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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