Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) remains a favourite stock among billionaires, according to Fortune which created a chart of top ten holdings by billionaire investors based on iBillionaire data.
An iOS application, iBillionaire and Web site, iBilliionaire.me, has transformed into an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that offered investors a 30-stock portfolio chosen to mimic the investment strategies of 21 billionaires, including George Soros, Warren Buffet and Carl Icahn.
It may no longer come as a surprise why billionaires like Carl Icahn, Apple Inc's most active investor, maintain Apple as one of their top 10 holdings. In a letter to Apple Inc investors dated Feb 10, Mr Icahn wrote he was backing off from his non-binding proposal that would be forcing the iPhone maker to add another $50 billion to its stock buyback plan. He acknowledged that Apple is now closer to his requested stock repurchase target, following Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the $14-billion buyback.
The billionaire activist told CNBC in January that he continued to benefit and made a "great deal of money" when he buys Apple shares that went down. Mr Icahn firmly believes it is "more compelling" for Apple Inc to allow a stock buyback. He reveals he is "encouraged" when Mr Cook talked about the company's plans for new products.
While other investors question if Apple Inc is still a growth company, iPhone maker has bought back $14 billion of its stocks in the recent weeks. The recent has increased Apple's total stock buyback to $40 billion shares in a span of 12 months. Mr Cook remarked in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that it was a record-breaking buyback for a company in a similar period. He said Apple will reveal more updates on its stock buyback by March or April 2014.
Apple stock ratings
Bank of America analysts have issued the "Neutral" rating for Apple shares due to the iPhone maker's lack of a low-priced iPhone which would have been a success in emerging markets. Analysts believe that Apple's deal with China Mobile will have a likely less than expected impact on Apple's growth. The lack of an "innovative" product was a factor in the rating as well.
The equities researchers at Ned Davis Research upgraded Apple's stock to a "Buy" rating from the previous "Neutral" rating with a price target of $590. A total of 29 analysts have issued a "Buy" rating for Apple's stocks with a consensus price target of $597.88.
With the recent news of an Apple TV upgrade, iPhone 6 rumours and the meeting between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple executives, investors continue to anticipate the launch of Apple's "innovative" products and not just a refresh of its existing product lines.