3 Things to Love About Apple

02/01/2013 11:00 am EST


Do these three factors make the tech giant a good investment? While many stateside experts treat the stock with scorn, G.A. Chester of The Motley Fool UK chimes in from across the pond with a much rosier contrarian view.

There are things to love and loathe about most companies. Today, I'm going to tell you about three things to love about US tech titan Apple (AAPL). I'll also be asking whether these positive factors make Apple a good investment today.

Brand Loyalty
Until recently, all I wanted from a computer was for it to function well enough to browse the web, put a bit of data in a spreadsheet, and type out articles like this one. Computers were little more than a commodity as far as I was concerned.

However, with the idea of being able to work on the hoof, I decided to check out a few laptops. When I tried Apple's MacBook Pro, I was instantly in love. Today, you may even find me with my MacBook sitting in a Starbucks wearing a lightweight roll-neck sweater—just an iPhone short of a stereotype.

I reckon if Apple can seduce me, it can seduce just about anyone. It's a great thing to be a shareholder in a company that inspires fantastic brand loyalty in its customers.

An Abundance of Cash
Apple has an enormous hoard of cash and marketable securities. This has grown from $25 billion to $137 billion in five years. Yes, you read that right, $137 billion. Put another way, Apple's cash pile is around a third of the company's market capitalization.

Such a huge amount of excess cash is quite remarkable, and shareholders have already started to see some of it finding its way into their pockets. Apple announced its first dividend in 17 years with its third-quarter results for its fiscal year 2012. The $2.65-a-share dividend was repeated in Q4 and again in Q1 of the current year. Regular cash dividends are now firmly established.

At a recent share price of $457, Apple is on a trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio of 10.4. Adjust for the cash pile and the P/E falls to just 7. Meanwhile, if the company declares a fourth $2.65 dividend with its Q2 results, the yield is 2.3% with plenty of scope for growth.

Apple is out of vogue with investors at the moment, and out-of vogue shares can often make good long-term investments. If I were in the market for a tech-sector titan, Apple would certainly be on my list of shares to consider.

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