Apple Is Best Performing Dow Stock of 2017

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Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) posted a new 52-week high on Friday that is just pennies short of its all-time high posted two years ago. A strong first fiscal quarter earnings report and speculation about the next round of products are driving the stock higher.

Even CEO Tim Cook’s outspoken comments on President Trump’s travel ban have not been enough to chill investors’ enthusiasm for the stock. Shares have added about $16 to date in 2017, an increase of 14.07%.

In Apple’s most recent quarter, sales of its core products did well. Cook said:

We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch.

The overall financial results, however, were not particularly strong compared with the same quarter a year ago. Apple’s revenue for its first fiscal quarter, which ended December 31, 2016, was $78.4 billion, against $75.9 billion last year. Per-share earnings were $3.36, compared with $3.28 last year.

Compared to the year-ago quarter, iPhone sales rose 5% to 78.29 million units. iPhone revenue rose at the same pace to $54.38 billion.

The company’s forecast, which is always considered conservative, was also relatively strong:

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2017 second quarter:

  • revenue between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion
  • gross margin between 38 percent and 39 percent
  • operating expenses between $6.5 billion and $6.6 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $400 million
  • tax rate of 26 percent

Apple shares closed at $132.94 on Friday, a new 52-week high. The 52-week low is $89.47 and the consensus 12-month price target is $139.19. The price target range stretches from $102 to $185 per share.