Apple Retains Grip as Top-Performing Dow Stock

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For the fourth week in a row, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the Dow Jones industrial average’s best stock for the year to date. Even though the company’s shares dropped about 1.4% last week, the world’s most valuable company has still managed to post a year-to-date share price gain of 27.8%.

The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), which is up 25.1%. That is followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), up 25%, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), up 21.8%, and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 20.8%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 16 have managed either to post gains to date in 2018.

The blue-chip index shed more than 750 points last week to close at 24,688.31, down nearly 3% compared to the previous Friday’s close. For the year to date, the index is down 0.5%, trailing the Nasdaq Composite (up 2.3%) but leading the S&P 500 (down 1.4%).

For Apple, the week’s big event was the Friday availability of the iPhone XR in retail stores. The new $749 device is the cheapest of the three new iPhones Apple introduced last month and is expected to be a popular model among Apple fans who don’t want to spend $1,000 or more on a phone.

The 6.1-inch LCD screen on the XR is halfway between the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED screens on the XS and XS Max, respectively. The screen technology and the absence of one camera are the big reasons for the price difference because the phone uses the A12 processor and offers most of the same features as the pricier devices.

Apple’s “October Event” was announced more than a week ago and will take place Tuesday at Brooklyn’s Academy of Music. The company is expected to announce upgrades to the iPad Pro and, perhaps, the company’s laptops and desktops.

On Thursday, Apple is scheduled to report results for its fourth fiscal quarter that ended in September. Consensus estimates call for earnings per share of $2.78 and revenue of $61.59 billion. For the full 2018 fiscal year, analysts are looking for earnings of $11.79 per share and revenue of $264.05 billion.

Apple shares closed Friday at $216.30, down about 1.6% for the day, in a 52-week range of $150.24 to $233.47. The consensus price target is $239.63, and Apple’s forward price-to-earnings ratio is 15.70.