An incredible run for Apple (AAPL) investors: Shares have doubled since early March, and trading today around $164, are not far from Apple’s all-time high near $203, reached in December, 2007.
For that, you can thank two things:
- The iPhone, which is driving Apple’s growth.
- Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, who kept the lights on while Steve Jobs was on medical leave.
Jobs’ six-month absence wouldn’t have derailed the company anyway, but even while keeping a low profile, Cook’s leadership kept people from questioning Apple’s management without Steve Jobs running the show.
Can the run continue? The iPhone is as hot as ever, despite increasing competition from the likes of Palm, RIM, and Google. But Apple will need another growth driver to keep the fire burning while the Mac business is flat and the iPod business starts its decline.
The big hope is that Apple’s supposedly forthcoming tablet will be that growth story, taking the success of the iPod touch and dropping it into the fast growing netbook market.
Here’s Apple’s six-month chart. Apple is the blue line, and the Nasdaq is the red line. As you can see, Apple’s ~70% share price growth is lapping the Nasdaq’s ~30% growth during that span.
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