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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ahem... Apple is now worth $1 Trillion


Written by Sam Ro — At about 11:48 a.m. ET, Apple (AAPL) became the first U.S.-listed company to be worth $1,000,000,000,000.00.

The price of a single share of Apple crossed $207.0425 for a moment. Multiply that by 4,829,926,000 shares outstanding and you get a trillion bucks.

Some might argue that $1 trillion is just a random round number. But whether it’s a trillion or $999 billion, the point is that Apple is an incredibly massive company, with an incredible reach, and with an incredible amount of profits (In 2017, Apple earned $48 billion on $229 billion in sales).

In a press release earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook disclosed that Apple’s active installed base of devices reached 1.3 billion in January. While growth in its hardware like iPhones and iPads could be leveling off, the company’s booming services offerings could fuel massive profits for years.

“The fact that you have a billion and a half people with Apple devices around the world in a sense gives them a user base that if they can figure out other ways to make money off that user base,” NYU professor Aswath Damodaran said on CNBC. “I think you could get a bonus on that growth rate.”

Is it really worth it?
Apple’s prospects at this juncture are critical since stock prices are theoretically just the present value of all of a company’s future cash flows.

“[I]t’s still trading about 17 times next year’s earnings estimates,” said Damodaran, who is also known as the Dean of Valuation. “I mean, compare that to some of the other FAANG names— Alphabet 53 times, Amazon 162 times.”

History is riddled with companies that saw outsized valuations on speculation that these businesses were the next big thing. During the dotcom bubble, companies with no profits but lots of prospects regularly saw billion-dollar valuations.

But Apple is different because it’s actually earning a ton of money.

“You don’t need a +20x price earnings multiple to get to $1 trillion valuation,” Datatrek Research’s Jessica Rabe said in an email on Thursday. “It would be logical, but wrong, to think a huge valuation must stem from a sky-high PE ratio. Apple trades for 17.3 times next year’s consensus estimate, even before you exclude cash. That’s barely above the market multiple of 16.7 times.”

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