Is there a ceiling to Apple?

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With shares rising toward $220, long-term investors wonder if the giant still has room to grow.

 

From friend-of-the-blog Norman Lotz, commenting on AAPLInvestors‘ chart below:

After all these years, I see signs that the Market may at last be ‘getting it,’ as we used to say.

Having Warren [Buffett] on our side is a part of it. Having the other tech stocks correct while we grow is part of it. Principled management is part of it.

I was wondering if or where there would be a ceiling for AAPL. That’s why I went to the Dediu NYC summit this week. [See A day with Dediu and Dilger]

Now I think we’re going to grow pretty rapidly at least until the PE matches the market.

One factor is the ‘cash flow neutral’ goal. That means they’re going to continue a huge cash flow to the benefit of the shareholders on an ongoing basis. Now they’re putting much more into share buybacks than dividends. They’ve significantly reduced the share count in the last couple of years. Continuing buybacks at that pace, EPS and the share price will really go up. In a few years they’ll have to push more into dividends which will also increase the price.

Plus new products, charging for access to the growing ecosystem (subscriptions), and expanding services segment.

All in all, I believe we’re on the way up.

My take: Horace makes a strong case that the bear case makes no sense. Stronger than any bear case made by the bears I’ve read.

Below: The top 30 all-time high closings, courtesy of AAPLInvestors.net. Dates in green indicate closing price was an all-time high at that time.

Click to enlarge. This year already boasts all 30 of Apple’s highest closing prices.