Apple stock: From $6.56 to $403 in about 8 years


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Some recent and historical data points for Apple Inc. stock, before markets react Thursday to founder Steve Jobs’ decision to step down as CEO:

--- The shares closed the regular session at $376.18 on Wednesday, up $2.58, before Jobs’ announcement. The price fell 5.3% to about $356 in after-hours trading.


The stock hit a record high of $403.41 on July 26, before it began to slump amid the market’s broad sell-off.

--- The company’s stock market value was $348 billion at the close of regular trading Wednesday. Earlier this month Apple briefly topped Exxon Mobil as the most valuable U.S. company by stock market value, but Exxon now is back on top, at $357 billion.

Apple is far more valuable than any other U.S. tech company, including Microsoft ($209 billion), IBM ($199 billion), Google ($169 billion) and Intel ($104 billion).

--- The first Apple mania: The company generated huge investor excitement with its initial public stock offering in December 1980. Adjusted for splits since then, the stock’s IPO price was $2.75 a share. It peaked in the 1980s at $14.82 in October 1987.

But the stock languished for much of the period from then until the late-1990s.

--- The second Apple mania: After falling from 1995 through 1997, Apple stock posted big gains in 1998 and 1999 with the dot-com boom, rising 212% and 151% in those years, respectively. The stock also was fueled by excitement over Jobs’ return as interim CEO in September 1997.

The stock then crashed as the tech bubble burst in 2000. Apple plunged nearly 50% on Sept. 29, 2000, to a split-adjusted $12.88 a share, after warning that quarterly earnings would fall far short of expectations. ‘We’ve clearly hit a speed bump,” Jobs told investors.


--- The third Apple mania: After bottoming for the decade at $6.56 on April 17, 2003, Apple’s shares began a dramatic ascent as the company’s sales and earnings began to rocket. The stock reached $199.83 on Dec. 28, 2007 -- then plummeted to $119 by late-February 2008 after a disappointing forecast from the company.

The stock rebounded to nearly $190 in May 2008, then crashed again with the market meltdown later that year.

--- The fourth Apple mania: After falling as low as $78.20 on Jan. 20, 2009, the stock began the climb that took it above the $400 mark late last month.

Underpinning the runup since the start of 2009 has been explosive growth in sales and profit from iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs. Apple’s sales have tripled from $9.08 billion in its second fiscal quarter of 2009 to a record $28.6 billion in its latest quarter, ended in June. Earnings rose from $1.79 a share to $7.79 a share in the same period.

--- For the full fiscal year ending in September, Apple is expected to earn $27.34 a share, according to the mean estimate of analysts tracked by Bloomberg News. That would be an 80% gain from the $15.15 a share the company earned the previous year.

But bottom-line growth is expected to slow in 2012. Analysts’ mean estimate for fiscal 2012 is for profit of $32 a share, which would be a gain of 17% over expected 2011 results.


--- At $376.18 on Wednesday, Apple stock had a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.8 based on analysts’ 2011 earnings estimate and 11.8 based on the 2012 estimate.

By contrast, the P/E ratio of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index of blue-chip stocks is 11.7 and 10.4, respectively, based on S&P’s estimates of 2011 and 2012 operating earnings.

Compared with other major tech stocks, Apple’s estimated 2011 P/E is below that of Qualcomm (15) and Google (14.7) but above the P/Es of Cisco Systems (13.2), Microsoft (9.3) and Intel (8.2). Typically, the higher a company’s expected earnings growth, the higher the P/E ratio investors are willing to pay.

-- Tom Petruno


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