Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are you a value investor? Take the Apple test

The bottom has clearly fallen out for Apple's stock price. After last week's earnings report, the stock that had already dropped 30% from its high of $705 set in September to $500/share, dropped another 15% to finish at $440/share. The company that could do no wrong a few months ago now is viewed as incapable of doing anything right. Has the stock fallen too much or is this just the beginning of a longer term drop in value? Is it time to buy, time to sell or time to sit on your hands?

Looking at the landscape, I would categorize Apple investors and potential investors into three groups right now, based on their views of its value and the current price.
  1. The Pricers: As I see it, the bulk of the investors in Apple have no idea what the value of the stock is and do not care that they don't know its value. They are intent on playing the pricing game, where the key becomes gauging what the rest of the crowd thinks about the stock and trying to get ahead of them. At any stock price, the question they ask is not whether Apple is under or over valued, but whether the price will go up or down in the near term. I have never been good at this game and it must be exhausting, being at the mercy of market sentiment, moods and fancy.
  2. The Value Skeptics: This group has always viewed Apple's rapid rise to the top of the market cap heap with suspicion, convinced that its value could not have risen that fast. Some of this group belong to the hardcore value camp, where no technology company, especially one with intangible assets and an elusive "cool" factor, would be a good value, at any price. Some, though, have reasonable doubts about the capacity of technology companies to maintain earnings in an volatile environment and believe that those of us who assume long term growth prospects for these companies are under estimating the risk of the disruption from new technologies. Just as Apple undercut RIMM and Nokia, they believe that some other company will undercut Apple in the future. Many in this group are feeling self-righteous, arguing the price drop was long overdue but not enough to make the company an attractive investment yet.
  3. The Value Optimists: This group believes that Apple is a bargain at $440 and that its true value is much higher. Some, in this group, base this judgment on simple comparisons. At a market cap of $413 billion, with a cash balance of $120 billion and net income of $42 billion, they note that Apple is trading at roughly seven times earnings, cheap in a market where the median PE ratio is about 16. Some are basing their views on cash flow based valuations and I am one of that group, as you probably already know from my post at the end of 2012. In that post, I valued Apple at $609/share and the latest earnings report barely changes that estimate. I did a follow up simulation, bringing in the uncertainty about my estimates about revenue growth(-2% to +14%), margins (25% to 35%) and cost of capital (11%-14%) into the mix, with the following outcomes:

Based on my estimates, and they could be skewed by my Apple bias, at its current stock price of $440, there is a 90% chance that the stock is under valued.

If, like me, you are in this last group, you are being tested mightily now, torn between a belief that the stock is under valued and a market that does not seem to care. It is a good test of whether you are a value investor and what you do will depend upon two assessments:
  • The Gut Check: Are you really a value investor or do you just like talking like one? It is easy being a contrarian value investor, in the abstract, but much more difficult to be one in practice, since you are taking a position at odds with the rest of the market. Not all investors have the stomach  for that, and if you don't, it is a good time to find out. 
  • The Confidence Check: How confident are you in your assessment of value? That confidence will stem from your comfort with the valuation metric/model that you used and the inputs that you used in that model, as well as from your prior experience in investing based on your valuations. Again, you cannot talk yourself into being confident, and if you are not, it is best not to take a stand. 
If you pass the value investing test and feel confident in your assessment of value, I think you should take the leap.  If you do, as I did (albeit at $500/share),  keep the following cautionary notes in mind:
  1. Don't bet the house: No matter how confident you are in your value assessment, don't go overboard and invest a disproportionate amount of your portfolio in Apple.  This is not just about you being right on the value but also about the market coming around to your point of view, and that is not in your control or mine; betting more than 10% of your portfolio on this stock strikes me as foolhardy.
  2. Don't double down (Dollar averaging): I have never been a fan of dollar averaging, which not only muddies the water about when/how much you invested in a stock but results in increasing your bets as the market goes against you. Take a stand against the market but do not make this an ego trip, where admitting that you are wrong becomes impossible to do. Thus, while I feel more confident now that the stock is under valued than I was a week ago when I bought the stock for $500, I don't plan to buy more shares.
  3. Think of buying the business, not the stock: The old adage that you are buying a piece of a company, not a share of stock, is particularly relevant when you make a bet like this one. My intrinsic valuation is determined by Apple's capacity to generate profits and cash flows and is not dependent upon whether portfolio managers are investing with me or analysts are lowering their price estimates. If I buy Apple at $440 today and I can hold the stock, I will get a share of a cash that is paid out and a share of ownership in the cash that is withheld. I have to keep reminding myself of that truth, even if the market moves against me.
  4. Do not track the day to day stories: In an increasingly connected world, I know that this is really difficult to do, but there is no harm trying. Turn off your financial news channel, don't read opinion stories about Apple and avoid equity research reports like the plague. 
  5. Be willing to wait... even if you are not sure what you are waiting for: The big question that those of us who chose to make this bet face is what the catalyst will be that brings the market back to its senses (at least as we see it...). From my experience, it is almost impossible to tell. For instance, how did Netflix, which was a tailspin, a year ago, turn itself around? There was no single precipitating event but a collection of small news stories and solid earnings reports that seemed to settle the fears that investors had about the company's future direction. With Apple, it could be a new product, a couple of healthy earnings reports or a stock buyback. 
Let me close by saying that I will go to bed tonight, not thinking about what Apple's stock price will do tomorrow or the day after. I have made my choice and I am at peace with it. If you lie awake at night thinking about the stocks you have bought or sold, you just failed the final test of value investing.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does your valuation assume margins drop to that of samsung? If not, why not?

Chris said...

Timely--Thank you! I was just tweaking values in the Excel spreadsheet you shared in March.

SiamTwin said...

I think you are optimistic on your valuation by about $100, but thank you for an interesting post. Some good observations.

subudani said...

Out of curiosity
1. How did you arrive at the 90% probability figure that Apple is undervalued.
2. How did you prepare that graph.
3.Couldn't the decline in apple price be a case where the market is expecting earnings of apple to fall away drastically as competition has already caught up.

Anonymous said...

Why is growth assumed?

Balaji said...

Squarely in the camp of Value Skeptics!!!!

Anonymous said...

Apple's problem is that it does not know what to do with its 120b cash. Market cap is appx 440b and price about 440 per share. So cash is 120 per share. What right does it have to keep that cash? This is grossly against good corporate finance. Shareholders might have something to deal with their cash than earn risk-free rate. So first thing Apple should be doing is return a large part of that cash. Apple is afraid of doing it now because it might signal lack of innovation and bring the stock price further down.

At 320 per share (net of cash) it may be a bargain only if we have reasons to believe that EPS at 42 per share, i.e. 42b profits is sustainable.

What if this falls to say 32b? The P/E would be still an attractive 10.
What if it goes down still further? What if Google, Microsoft, Samsung and many others dump the market with low cost smart phones and at the same time Apple fails to innovate? Note that Apple is not comfortable with low cost products.

I think from value perspective it is difficult to have any conviction. So I would stay back. No regrets if Apple marches on in future.

However, there is a possibility that the stupid market might one day bring back some of its lost (say 20%) value. Chance for current buyers to make some money. Just chance. But it comes back to relying on the market moods again.

Eric said...

I really would like to know how you made that bar graph.

If someone else knows, please post what program that is.

Anonymous said...

The graph looks like it might have been generated with SPSS, a statistics package, which would make sense also given the context (whereby he uses ranges of possible outcomes, likely assuming a normal curve of probabilities - though I am not sure this is valid in the markets)

contrariansmind said...

Definition of a Long Term Investment? Short Term Investment gone sour.
You sound so much like the 90% of Apple shareholders who will not let themselves believe that Apple can fail just as easily as they succeed.
I wrote this piece 1 year ago about the upcoming struggles for Apple:
https://contrariansmind.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/has-apple-reached-the-tipping-point/
I wish you luck with your investment.

mcturra2000 said...

Prof Damodaran, although you are a fan of DCF - which is a controversial valuation methodolgy - and heavily a "numbers guy", I actually think that it is your "soft" skills that you seem to possess that are of at least equal value.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is 'crystal ball' software (or something similar - say SPSS, @risk etc.)
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Here's another blog - Innovate or perish


http://valueanalyst.blogspot.com/2012/10/innovation-for-existenceapple.html

Finance Market said...

A man always has 2 factors for what he does; an excellent one, and the actual one.

Marco said...

I've been riding Apple's stock for some time now. It's treated me well. It has paid for an expensive MBA (along with Netflix) and is now a big chunk of my portfolio. My basic assumptions have not changed: strong brand, great products, fantastic distribution, great replacement for Steve Jobs. I was even wrong thinking that Apple could not hold iPad's market share this long. And I do believe there is at least one great product to come. I also expect better execution from Tim Cook (Steve was great, but just how many more earth shattering ideas can a man have under his sleeve?).

I'll keep riding Apple stock, laughing at the news of Apple's demise and sleeping great, thank you.

Vinayak said...

Its a crystal ball and it costs a fortune 2000usd for a year!

Aswath Damodaran said...

On the questions about the graph, I did use Crystal Ball. It is an add on to Excel, and a full version can cost several hundred dollars.
However, there are student editions that are far cheaper and you can get a trial run at Oracle.com (which owns Crystal Ball).
On the inputs to my valuation, i emphasized that this was my valuation of Apple and not the valuation of Apple. I also noted that there are many who believe that Apple is not worth $440, because of the risks inherent in maintaining a technology franchise. I think that if that is what you believe, you are being consistent in not investing in Apple.
My post is directed primarily at those who believe that Apple is under valued and are wary about pulling the trigger.

Anonymous said...

Many Thanks PROF.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, love the analysis

Dinesh said...

Prof. Damodaran,

I am a trader and I generally like trading based on Technical and Sentiment analysis. Currently the sentiments towards Apple stock is at its lowest in many years. Analysts on the street are slashing price targets on Apple and I think this is a good opportunity to buy. But my main question is when do you sell? (I have always found selling more difficult than buying.)

As per your Crystal Ball analysis, I see the mean price at 590-600. So do you sell @$600?
Since you do not dollar cost average, when do you sell if the stock continues to drift lower?

Its always a pleasure to read your blog and thank you for making all this information available to students like me.

Dinesh

Abbi said...

While Apple may be a great value now, I fear that it is going to be an even greater value next quarter. That's because the current quarter has a high potential for a miss, especially when compared to the same quarter from a year ago. Yes, Apple sold a lot of iPhones last quarter, but one way it achieved that was by making it available in a lot more countries in the 1st quarter of availability compared to the iPhone 4S. A lot of pent up demand for iPhone 5 was therefore captured already...

Anonymous said...

To me, Apple is like half of the Gillette theory: they sell the razor but not the blades. Eventually they saturate the market, but the payday goes on and on for the connection plan providers... and not for them.

Sal Abbasi said...

Thanks for posting this. Even us long time contrarians can use some reassurance once in a while that there are other rational people out there.

Ishan said...

I am happy I can call you an AAPL co-investor. Just took a significant position (for me) at 450.

Anonymous said...

Why would Apple's margins sink to those of Samsung? There may be margin compression, but it's clear that a major part of Samsung's revenue is from low income purchasers (China, India, for example). Apple doesn't have to chase low-end business, they are growing terrifically (really) with higher end consumers. BMW and Mercedes do very nicely, and don't feel the need to follow Chevy's lead, do they?

Anonymous said...

"Why would Apple's margins sink to those of Samsung? There may be margin compression, but it's clear that a major part of Samsung's revenue is from low income purchasers (China, India, for example). Apple doesn't have to chase low-end business, they are growing terrifically (really) with higher end consumers."

I'd like to see the data to support these assertions. I live in Asia, and that's not what I'm seeing at all. Apple does appear to be chasing the low-end business in East Asia. It is also not the case that those carrying Galaxies in their pockets simply cannot afford Apple. Where I live, you can get an iPhone for free with the right plan. That is not currently the case with a Galaxy.

Kevin T. said...

Professor,

This might be a stupid question, but should Apple's cost of capital be estimated as you have? After all, they could easily raise debt with a high rating (if not, AAA, then close to it), which would lower their cost of capital (up to a point).

Perhaps a stupider follow up question: does CAPM really have a place in estimating the cost of capital for AAPL given how much cash they have and how much cashflow they continue to generate? Wouldn't they look to this cash for the conceivable future to address any investment needs?

Thanks again for these posts - always look forward to reading them!

Wanderluster said...

DCF cannot be thrown away as a tool for prognostication. It gives a rational yet most likely scenario provided the assumptions are well grounded.

Even going by the price history and the factors that influenced it, I will surely buy Prof's view on value investing in APPL

Ra'uf said...

Thanks for the analysis. I appreciate that you are evaluating Apples chance of price appreciation probabilistically.

Therefore, I was wondering about why you would not add to your position. I took an initial small position (1/3 of what I would be willing to invest in AAPL) because I did not have confidence that the price decline was over. Yesterday I added to my position lowering my cost basis. Since I can't claim to be a particularly good fortune teller I often allow for a price to decline before I add to my position. If AAPL had gone up I would have missed some upside on a larger investment. But that is the trade off isn't it.

Senith Mathews said...

Hi Aswath,

Thought you might have a view on this http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/01/29/apple-structured-note-goldman-sachs/

Senith

Jason DaCruz said...

Professor,

I think that a lot of the weakness comes from Apple's deteriorating margins. Putting in more aggressive margin assumptions (deteriorating to 15% by year 10), I found a price target of $414 a share.

I think it would be interesting to explore margin volatility in tech companies -- it seems like the tides can turn much more quickly in tech v other companies.

Thanks for the post,
- Jason

Aswath Damodaran said...

Kevin,
I did not build in any debt into the cost of capital, since Apple has given no indication that they plan to borrow money. As for the cost of capital, I don't think my estimate will be very sensitive to either the use of an alternate model or a different proxy for risk. 12.5% is the cost of capital for the top decile of companies and I am putting Apple into that group.
Jason,
Good point about margin. So, the market is building in an assumption that the margin will drop to about 15%. I think that drop is too extreme, which is why I bought the stock. If you think, as the Samsung margin poster does, that this is likely to happen, I have no quarrel with your valuation and your follow up decision not to buy Apple. Different strokes for different folks!

Stuart Skalka said...

Your point about not reading daily news stories is correct--when it comes to the general media, which quote sell-side analysts (who have been especially bad about Apple; see below) and "experts" who say ridiculous things like "Apple is down because of the law of large numbers (which was true a year ago)," or tax loss selling (AAPL peaked last September). But reading the serious articles in the Apple-specific and tech-in-general trade websites provides a lot of good information about what's really going on at Apple. I have been a technology analyst for 20 years, the first 10 for buy-side money managers, and the last 10 for myself. FYI, I recently started the Apple News Bytes LinkedIn Group, which is a one-stop shop for technology and financial news about Apple. I post about 40 links per day to the key stories on Apple, culled from about 50 Apple specific, technology trade press, and general investing-related websites. Prior to AAPL's earnings conference call, these articles had been predominately negative, so on balance these articles were indicating a deterioration in AAPL's fundamentals. But I think that the announcements on the call, in addition to the majority of post-call stories on these websites, add up to a bull case, especially at the stock's current valuation. I bought Apple for myself for the first time last Friday.

On AAPL's sell-side analysts: It's highly amusing (and very telling) that sell-side analysts have been giving ludicrous monocausal "explanations" for why AAPL has tanked, when the real reason is that they themselves have been cutting estimates (which in turn means that Apple's outlook has been continually reduced). The sell side game has been to keep saying "Buy Apple because it's cheap" while simultaneously reducing estimates because of deteriorating fundamentals, which keeps driving the stock price down. Their real job is to generate trade tickets for their employers, for which they are generously rewarded. Nice work if you can get it!

Anonymous said...

Professor,

Great post. Just a quick question on your cost of equity calculation... What do you typically use for your risk-free rate? The 1.8% assumption seems low relative to the 20-year treasury yield (which I've typically used as a proxy).

Also, I apologize if you already discussed this in your prior post, but what is the assumption behind the 8.0% WACC in the terminal period? Is this assuming that Apple will optimize it's capital structure and take on debt?

Thank you

arun kumar said...

Investors appreciate that this company controls costs through thick and thin. In the past yearshares of Wal Mart have soared 37%, while the market as measured by the Value Line Index is up 10%.

CollegeDropout said...

Overcrowded stock. Better value opportunities elsewhere.

Mihai Radu said...

I get a value of $583.6. Looks very close to the one from your graph. One way or the other I bought it at $450 and I am not sorry.

TraderJay said...

Very interesting blog post, brought to me thanks to The Big Picture Blog.

So the way I looked at it I give Apple credit for half of the $140 billion in cash they will have in one or two quarters; $70 billion...call it $70 per share.

I bought in at $450, so that's $380.

The FCF for the coming year I figure $45 billion.

So it is an "earnings yield" in the range of 12%.

I took a "half position" and if it drops another 10% I will "double down" but the commitment will still be less than 10% of the account value.

If the stock rises to a 9-10% earnings yield range, I will take my profit, perhaps just taking out my original capital (IRA account) and let the rest generate dividend income forever.


So, what's the beef with Apple?

My 22-year-old son bought a Samsung Galaxy 3 instead of an iPhone 5. Both of my co-workers bought Samsung.

Still, the Apple brand and mystique must be worth at least a 10% earnings yield.

Risk: No Jobs (or maybe no jobs).

JH

NYA MBA '91 (evenings)

Anonymous said...

Long term margins for consumer electronics are 2-5% (if you are lucky). Not 25 - 35%.

PredatorsBall said...

"there is a 90% chance that the stock is under valued."

There is also a "90%" chance most new AAPL longs in the last 6 months got crushed.

Aswath Damodaran said...

PredatorsBall,
If you are trying to be clever, you should at least use your head. Over the last 6 months, there is a 100% chance that Apple longs got crushed. There is no probability here, since we know exactly what happened over those 6 months.

Marc said...

oups, that hurt...

Business said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph Casale said...

This is largely a paste of a post made elsewhere (Motley Fool)

.... But to be specific for where I differ with his model / quite excellent spreadsheet, I worry about both the revenue projection and terminal value. Last is easiest, as I presume the terminal value has a modest base growth to it. No tech device company has ever managed that. But I'll cut some slack as the $644,900 is only modestly above the ~605,000 which would be an all asset based terminal value (current assets plus the 10 years of FCF to the firm. Cutting the terminal value back to this level still has Apple at ~$600.

So my hand waving at the revenue projection is the larger issue. 10 years is a long time and there is a key factor that currently helps Apples dominance that I don't think will last 10 years -- the carrier subsidy for the iPhone. If Apple has to compete on price more in the coming future, and I believe they will, they will struggle to continue to show revenue growth. In a way Apple has a customer concentration problem in that Verizon and AT&T are the true paying 'customer'. It will continue, but not for 10 years.

Yet, If I give Apple 5 more years of growth as per Prof. Damodaran's spreadsheet, but then stall and begin to diminish revenues, and assign a terminal value of just assets plus interim FCFF. I still get north of $550.

I was a buyer last week. I added to an older (still nicely profitable, but not all too old) position. But this is not a 'bought to hold' position.

Ralph
Helical Investor

P.S. - Also, Apple shouldn't make a cheaper phone but instead consider selling iOS to other device makers like Google with Android - This is Macintosh vs. PCs running Microsoft Windows all over again, and we know how that played out. Apple dominated with pleased users and in schools where 'others paid the full cost', but when it came time for individual consumers to make an purchase, price mattered and Windows-PCs came to dominance (Samsung is analogous to Dell perhaps?).

P.P.S. Apple TV will not gain appreciable traction. My TV doesn't require a set box for internet connectivity, it is built in (Panasonic with Vierra) displaying a very 'smart phone like' interface for HULU, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, etc. Even if it wasn't, the blue ray player would enable this. An Apple TV-type product will be built in all future (many current) TVs, negating the need for an add on device. I don't see Apple making full TVs (Amazon maybe, but not Apple).

Ralph Casale said...

This is largely a paste of a post made elsewhere (Motley Fool)

.... But to be specific for where I differ with his model / quite excellent spreadsheet, I worry about both the revenue projection and terminal value. Last is easiest, as I presume the terminal value has a modest base growth to it. No tech device company has ever managed that. But I'll cut some slack as the $644,900 is only modestly above the ~605,000 which would be an all asset based terminal value (current assets plus the 10 years of FCF to the firm. Cutting the terminal value back to this level still has Apple at ~$600.

So my hand waving at the revenue projection is the larger issue. 10 years is a long time and there is a key factor that currently helps Apples dominance that I don't think will last 10 years -- the carrier subsidy for the iPhone. If Apple has to compete on price more in the coming future, and I believe they will, they will struggle to continue to show revenue growth. In a way Apple has a customer concentration problem in that Verizon and AT&T are the true paying 'customer'. It will continue, but not for 10 years.

Yet, If I give Apple 5 more years of growth as per Prof. Damodaran's spreadsheet, but then stall and begin to diminish revenues, and assign a terminal value of just assets plus interim FCFF. I still get north of $550.

I was a buyer last week. I added to an older (still nicely profitable, but not all too old) position. But this is not a 'bought to hold' position.

Ralph
Helical Investor

P.S. - Also, Apple shouldn't make a cheaper phone but instead consider selling iOS to other device makers like Google with Android - This is Macintosh vs. PCs running Microsoft Windows all over again, and we know how that played out. Apple dominated with pleased users and in schools where 'others paid the full cost', but when it came time for individual consumers to make an purchase, price mattered and Windows-PCs came to dominance (Samsung is analogous to Dell perhaps?).

P.P.S. Apple TV will not gain appreciable traction. My TV doesn't require a set box for internet connectivity, it is built in (Panasonic with Vierra) displaying a very 'smart phone like' interface for HULU, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, etc. Even if it wasn't, the blue ray player would enable this. An Apple TV-type product will be built in all future (many current) TVs, negating the need for an add on device. I don't see Apple making full TVs (Amazon maybe, but not Apple).

Ralph Casale said...

This is largely a paste of a post made elsewhere (Motley Fool)

.... But to be specific for where I differ with his model / quite excellent spreadsheet, I worry about both the revenue projection and terminal value. Last is easiest, as I presume the terminal value has a modest base growth to it. No tech device company has ever managed that. But I'll cut some slack as the $644,900 is only modestly above the ~605,000 which would be an all asset based terminal value (current assets plus the 10 years of FCF to the firm. Cutting the terminal value back to this level still has Apple at ~$600.

So my hand waving at the revenue projection is the larger issue. 10 years is a long time and there is a key factor that currently helps Apples dominance that I don't think will last 10 years -- the carrier subsidy for the iPhone. If Apple has to compete on price more in the coming future, and I believe they will, they will struggle to continue to show revenue growth. In a way Apple has a customer concentration problem in that Verizon and AT&T are the true paying 'customer'. It will continue, but not for 10 years.

Yet, If I give Apple 5 more years of growth as per Prof. Damodaran's spreadsheet, but then stall and begin to diminish revenues, and assign a terminal value of just assets plus interim FCFF. I still get north of $550.

I was a buyer last week. I added to an older (still nicely profitable, but not all too old) position. But this is not a 'bought to hold' position.

Ralph
Helical Investor

P.S. - Also, Apple shouldn't make a cheaper phone but instead consider selling iOS to other device makers like Google with Android - This is Macintosh vs. PCs running Microsoft Windows all over again, and we know how that played out. Apple dominated with pleased users and in schools where 'others paid the full cost', but when it came time for individual consumers to make an purchase, price mattered and Windows-PCs came to dominance (Samsung is analogous to Dell perhaps?).

P.P.S. Apple TV will not gain appreciable traction. My TV doesn't require a set box for internet connectivity, it is built in (Panasonic with Vierra) displaying a very 'smart phone like' interface for HULU, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, etc. Even if it wasn't, the blue ray player would enable this. An Apple TV-type product will be built in all future (many current) TVs, negating the need for an add on device. I don't see Apple making full TVs (Amazon maybe, but not Apple).

sharemarketzone said...

To earn profit by investing money inshare market is not difficult, it can only happen when the trading is done with proper daily research reports.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Damodaran

I assume you used Crystal Ball to come up the PDF.

I am curious to know what are the major assumptions driving the distributions. So, could you please also show the sensitivity chart, so that we can find out how sensitive AAPL is to your assumptions.

Thanks,
Naser

QUALITY STOCKS UNDER 5 DOLLARS said...

Give me a break apple traded at just 5 dollar a share in 1998. Now I am aware that apple is a totally different company today than they were in 1998 but as a value investor why would anyone invest in a company whose stock price has increased by one hundred fold over the last 15 years. All good things must come to an end even apples.

401ktimer said...

Prof. Damodaran,

Assuming that your probability distribution for the fair value of Apple stock is reasonable, here is an interesting thought on making an almost risk free trade.

Sell Jan 2015 $400 Put option and get a premium of over $50. From the probability distribution curve, it appears that there is more than 99% chance that the fair value of Apple stock is more than $400/share; and almost 100% chance that the fair value is more than $350/share.

So, selling the above mentioned option seems to be almost risk-free. If so, is there a problem with the option pricing? Thanks in advance for your answer.

Tom said...

Apple's stock price was even on it's peak price relatively moderate regarding PE ratio, especially compared to other technology companies. Therefore in that case I don't agree completely to value sceptics point of view.

The analysis regarding the opportunities occuring with the drastic price drop is pretty interesting. The future development of the stock price depends on Apple's ability to continue with its product innovations in order to grow profits. At the moment I would still rather argue that Apple is able to do so.

It would be very interesting to analyse if a current investment in Samsung shares is even more promising. The PE ratio of Samsung is at the moment around 10.4, which can also be considered as moderate for a technology company. Personally I believe that Samsung has at the moment the higher profit growth potenital over the next quarters.

colin7291 said...

I've been riding Apple's stock for some time now. It's treated me well. It has paid for an expensive MBA (along with Netflix) and is now a big chunk of my portfolio. My basic assumptions have not changed: strong brand, great products, fantastic distribution, great replacement for Steve Jobs. I was even wrong thinking that Apple could not hold iPad's market share this long.
P.P.S. Apple TV will not gain appreciable traction. My TV doesn't require a set box for internet connectivity, it is built in (Panasonic with Vierra) displaying a very 'smart phone like' interface for HULU, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, etc. Even if it wasn't, the blue ray player would enable this. An Apple TV-type product will be built in all future (many current) TVs, negating the need for an add on device. I don't see Apple making full TVs (Amazon maybe, but not Apple).SEO SERVICES

Anonymous said...

Professor Damodaran -

Certainly, it's great to see AAPL valuation model readily available for the company enthusiasts. Thank you.

My comment is on your spreadsheet where you compute $168bn EV in 'Cost of Capital worksheet' from aggregating separate EV of business lines through industry proxy. It compares with AAPL $450bn EV in 'Valuation Output'. Would you say $282bn difference can be attributed to AAPL brand and comparative advantage in business strategy? What might explains difference in AAPL 2.9x EV/Sales to line of business aggregate 1.8x EV/Sales multiple? Especially in light of AAPL low P/E multiple.

Best,
E.A.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Damodaran should be commended for engaging in discourse with the unwashed masses (such as myself) and posting his class materials online free.

That said- most DCF valuations, because of 'garbage in, garbage out' syndrome, aren't worth the excel programs used to create them. Case in point: how one can with (as Aswath would say) - 100% probability use as the RISK-FREE rate the yield of the bonds of a fiscally inept (and perhaps soon to be fiscally insolvent) government is beyond me. Surely the bonds of Russia are less risky than the bonds of the U.S. yet this is one of the key inputs in an Apple "valuation." Not to mention there was no stated rationale of actual predictions of sales of PRODUCTS in the "valuation" but mere academic finagling...gosh there really is no substitute for owning a real-world business where one can't look up its beta or any of that other hooey. In summary no business school is not worth $70K a year and neither are most of the post-graduate education programs in the U.S.

Zain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phi said...

Hi Professor,
I was wondering whether you accounted for correlations between your assumptions which might give the "90%" probability? If you have, I would like to know how would be the 'correct' way to account for them when doing valuations. Cheers.

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Sid said...

Hello Prof.

Where could I find more information on sales to cap. ratio? Description in Input sheet on cell B22 is not so clear (might have wrong cell references?). I'm trying to understand its influence on the Reinvestment figure in your AAPLDec2012 spreadsheet.

Thank you,

S

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Professor,

I would be very interested to hear updated thoughts from you on Apple based on newer assumptions for revenues, margins, and overall stock price movement since your last post.

I hope you have time and interest to revisit with new commentary.

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