Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) turned in an encore performance as the Dow’s best stock for the year to date. Even though the company’s shares dropped nearly 1% last week, the world’s most valuable company has still managed to post a year-to-date share price gain of 31.3%.
The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), which is up 28.1%. That is followed by Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), up 24.1%, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 22.8%, and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), up 22.1%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 16 have managed either to post a gain or remain unchanged to date in 2018.
The blue-chip index dropped 1,107 points last week to close at 23,339.99, down 4.2% compared to the previous Friday’s close. For the year to date, the index is up 2.1%, trailing both the S&P 500 (up 2.6%) and the Nasdaq Composite (up 7%).
Last week was a bloodbath in the tech sector. As of October 3, tech stocks were up more than 20% for the year. By Friday’s close, the sector year-to-date gain had been pared to 12.8%.
On Wednesday, Apple paid $600 million to transfer employees from chip supplier Dialog to Apple. The deal will result in the transfer of about 16% of Dialog’s total workforce. The U.K.-based firm has for years supplied power management chips for Apple’s iPhone. Apple will pay half the total amount of the deal in cash and prepay for another $300 million in Dialog products.
Apple shares gained nearly 3.6% on Friday to recover almost all its weekly loss. The company did announce on Friday that it will include a TV app on its hardware devices next year that will provide users with free original content. This was a smart move, according to analysts at Loup Ventures, and in keeping with Apple’s long-term strategy to boost its services business.
Apple shares closed Friday at $222.11, up about 3.6% for the day, in a 52-week range of $150.24 to $233.47. The consensus price target is $236.02, and Apple’s forward price-to-earnings ratio is 16.19.