After two years of devastating financial performance and little evidence of progress on product innovation, Apple’s stock slumped to near $170. It’s worth noting that during the company’s stock rollercoaster ride, traders would throw out put options as a hedge. At its lowest, Apple’s trailing price-to-earnings ratio is below 13. That’s in the same ballpark as the S&P 500 and fairly close to what many European companies trade at — we’re talking Uber at 19.3, Facebook at 22, Google at 18, to name just a few. So, what happened?
It’s not hard to find reasons for Apple’s recent woes. Sales are down for the iPhone 6 and 5s at the low end of the market and there’s a real competition brewing for new customers among other phone makers, including Samsung, Google and Amazon. In addition, the stock recently sold off for rumors of billionaire Carl Icahn, one of Apple’s biggest investors, selling his shares. And, of course, the iPhone X, Apple’s most expensive phone ever, which debuted last year, didn’t sell well. The latest figures, released by the company at the end of last month, suggested that its quarterly revenues and profits declined for the first time in more than a decade, though Apple’s overall sales continued to grow. To be sure, there are still some positives for Apple. Its operating margins remain at an impressive 33 percent, and it launched a number of high-profile products last year. Most importantly, Apple’s software keeps getting better, as noted by Linette Lopez in her review of the iPhone 8.