I’m not an investment analyst and don’t usually recommend stocks, but a month ago it seemed pretty obvious that Apple was being severely undervalued by the equity markets. So I posted a short article saying its price was absurd and that it was a clear “buy.”
What’s happened since then? Shares of Apple (AAPL) closed today at $386.90, up ~23% from the June 20th close of $315.32. In other words, in one month Apple created over $60 billion of shareholder value (measured by change in market cap). Not too shabby.
Their earnings report yesterday (which blew away the analyst consensus by 33%) had a lot of interesting data on their rocketing sales by product and region, but the most important thing about their share price growth over the past month is that there hasn’t been any single major driver, like a huge product announcement (its recent patent wins were about as close as it came). Instead, Apple’s just been consistently executing on a great strategy.
Of course, a month is nothing in this game – we’ll check back again in 6, 12, and 24. But remember that performance is a lagging indicator of a successful strategy, which is why smart amateurs that understand Apple tend to out-predict the Wall Street pros. A good example is John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who picked up on a strategic shift when Apple announced the iPad a year and a half ago:
There was a meta-message in today’s Apple event, not about the iPad in particular, but rather about Apple as a whole … [T]his is Apple’s way of asserting that they’re taking over the penthouse suite as the strongest and best company in the whole ones-and-zeroes racket.
Some people have asked me why I write so much about Apple. This is a company that was almost dead 15 years ago, but is now in the running to becoming the most valuable company in the world. Strategy and innovation is how they did it.