Return on invested capital

Meet the man who figures Apple is worth $240 a share

May 15, 2013: 1:09 PM ET

What does David Trainer know about Apple that nobody else does?

Trainer. From LinkedIn.

Trainer via LinkedIn.

FORTUNE -- At Credit Suisse, where he spent four years in the late 1990s, David Trainer was given what a former colleague called "a nearly impossible task -- teach and convince a department of 50+ very senior analysts a better way to think about valuing their companies."

Now Trainer is trying to teach the rest of the world that "better way," and this week he executed a neat media triple play -- MarketWatch, MoneyLife and CNBC -- pitching a model based on ROIC (return on invested capital) that values Apple (AAPL) at $240 a share.

It's hard to believe a little-known Nashville trader with an obscure theory and a bizarre Apple valuation could move a market. But shortly after his media blitz began Tuesday, Apple's share price dropped more than $9. After his CNBC appearance Wednesday it fell another $21 to dip below $423 -- thus wiping out two and a half weeks of gains.

I watched Trainer's CNBC appearance (best line: "Steve Jobs was the Bo Jackson of CEOs"). I read his blog post. I looked up ROIC in Investopedia. I studied his Apple model.

I couldn't make any sense of it. Maybe you can.

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