THE APPLE INVESTOR: iPad Frenzy Goes International; Cramer Goes Nuts About The Stock

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AAPL Not Being Held Back
Shares of AAPL are up strong in a weak market. Bucking the end of the month trading volatility, the stock is up $4 to nearly $258 on the international launch of the iPad. Future catalysts for the stock include the launch of the new iPhone (June 7 at the Worldwide Developers Conference where Steve Jobs will be delivering the keynote speech); monthly NPD data (Mac / iPod business); and iPad sales updates. AAPL trades at 22x estimated fiscal-year 2010 EPS and 12x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow.

The World Goes Crazy; The iPad Hits International Markets (theAppleBlog)
Die-hard fans mobbed Apple retail stores in Asia and Europe today as the iPad tablet computer went on sale outside the U.S. for the first time, 53 days after the U.S. launch. The iPad is now on sale in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Britain, Japan and Australia, and Canada. Apple will launch its tablet PC in more international countries at some point in July. 9to5Mac caught some of the hysteria on video. It should prove to be a solid weekend, if there’s enough supply.

BOML Anticipating Continued Outperformance; Raising Estimates For This Year And Next (Reuters)
Scott Craig at Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes that the recent pull back provides a good entry into Apple stock. He is increasing his fiscal 2010 and 2011 EPS and revenue estimates to $13.84 and $17.00 and $59 billion and $72 billion respectively. Multiple tailwinds exist for the iPhone (AT&T and international strength while Asia production levels remain solid). He is also raising his iPad estimates on better than expected sales (despite lengthy lead times). Scott believes the rest of Wall Street is grossly underestimating Apple’s gross margin potential (read: ability to beat guidance by a landslide).

Cramer Calling On Investors To Look Past Apple’s Scary Market-Cap And $250 Stock Price (CNBC)
Jim Cramer is banging the Apple drum, calling the company “the greatest manufacturer on earth.” He believes the company could earn between $17 – $20 per share next year (2011), meaning the stock is only trading at 12.5x next year’s earnings. His price-target on the stock is $300. Even if the stock hits his high, it will still only trade at 15x, less than everything else he owns. “Don’t be scared away.”

Sorry New York City, iPhone For Verizon Not Gonna Happen Anytime Soon (CNN Money)
Don’t expect the iPhone for Verizon anytime soon. rumours have continued to run wild because an Apple / Verizon partnership makes sense for both parties. That said, it’s not likely to happen this year because: 1) being able to surf the Web while making a call simultaneously doesn’t work on Verizon’s CDMA network; 2) it would be more cost efficient to wait until both carriers are on 4G which runs on the global LTE standard (2012); 3) Apple’s 5-year exclusive agreement with AT&T doesn’t run out until 2012; and 4) right now Verizon is “all about Google.”

Apple Has Reached The Top (Or One Oil Spill Away); There’s No Place To Go But Sideways Or Down (MarketWatch)
While the rest of the investment world applauds Apple for reaching the number 2 most valuable company in the world, Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch is sending his condolences. Historically, those companies that reached the top of the market-cap rankings proceed to lag the overall market by an average of 5 percentage points annually. He asks “how many times in a row can Apple pull yet another rabbit out of its hat?” Being the contrarian, Mark gravitates to companies that are out of favour. That’s certainly not Apple.

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