As of Wednesday morning Morgan Stanley's and Oppenheimer's were under water
Most sell-side Apple (AAPL) analysts are conservative in their earnings estimates but bullish in their price targets. According to Thomson/First Call, the Street high target this week is $700 and the median is a dollar short of $600. (The independent analysts are even more optimistic; the biggest number we've seen is Robert Paul Leitao's $790.)
But with Apple topping $525 in heavy mid-day trading Wednesday, the stock is starting to overtake price targets set less than a month ago, including some from the biggest names on Wall Street.
As of noon Wednesday, analysts whose 12 month price targets were underwater included:
It's not clear whether these two really think the company is overvalued, or if they just haven't been paying much attention lately.
UPDATE: Apple shares fell steeply shortly after noon, giving up the day's gains and then some. According to Aaplpain's Travis Lewis it was options-induced sell-off. "So many calls are out there people have to close them 'cause they can't afford the shares," he wrote. "When they start to close them causes that big sell-off."
The stock closed at $497.67, down $11.79 (2.31%) and nearly $29 off its high for the day.
UPDATE (2/18/2012): Oppenheimer's Kidron has upped his target to $570. Morgan Stanley's Huberty is sticking with $515.
Its P/E ratio hit 13.97 Monday, lower than at the depth of the 2008-2009 meltdown
Reader Travis Lewis points out that after Monday's $20.41 (5.8%) drop, Apple's (AAPL) price-to-earnings ratio has fallen below the low point set on Jan. 20, 2009 -- six days after Steve Jobs announced his second medical leave -- when the stock closed at $78.20.
To make the comparison, Lewis had to go back to Apple's non-adjusted earnings MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 9, 2011 7:21 AM ET
In 52 weeks, Apple shares closed within $1 of the so-called Max Pain range 39 times
To ordinary investors, the trading in Apple (AAPL) shares last week must have looked a little crazy. On Monday, when the Dow was up, the stock fell, only to shoot up $9.98 (3.17%) the next day. On Thursday, when the Dow was down, the stock was up $8.62 (2.67%). If Apple could have held on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 25, 2011 8:12 AM ET
New evidence suggests that since last summer the tail has been wagging the dog
If you're any kind of Apple (AAPL) investor, you should be aware of the chart at right, even if you don't know a put from a call and don't really care to.
It shows the value in millions of dollars as of Wednesday morning of the outstanding Apple options that expire this Friday, with the magenta bars representing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 18, 2011 7:36 AM ET
If you're looking for evidence of manipulation, Friday's close was picture-perfect
"The easiest way to think of options," wrote The Market Skeptics's Eric deCarbonnel in a prescient 2009 post, "is as a type of insurance. Investors pay a premium to protect themselves against sharp swings in the market. If these sharp swings don't happen, those selling options (option market makers) keep the premiums as profit."
"In a legitimate free market," he continues, "every MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 15, 2011 9:32 AM ET
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