August 11 ( Xinhua) — Apple’s share price continued its recent upward trend on Monday, local time, leaving it just one step away from its $2 trillion market value,media reported. Tim Cook, its chief executive, has a net worth of more than $1bn, making him one of the super-rich.
Nine years after Steve Jobs stepped down and put Tim Cook in charge of Apple, the company’s market capitalisation is higher than ever. Apple’s shares rose nearly 5 percent last week and closed 1.5 percent higher on Monday, bringing its market value closer to the $2 trillion milestone. At the time of Mr. Jobs’s death, Apple was worth only $350 bn.
That means Apple’s share price could hit a new record by rising just over 5 percent. Wedbush Securities last week raised Apple’s target price to the highest level on Wall Street, saying it was on track to reach the $2 trillion threshold “in the short term” and that “there is still a lot of fuel in Apple’s tank that will drive its rapid growth and continue into 2021”.
Apple’s share price has soared to make it the world’s most valuable company by market capitalisation, recently surpassing Saudi Aramco. It is now firmly ahead of Microsoft and Amazon, the second- and third-largest U.S. companies, both of which have a market capitalisation of about $1.6 trillion. Apple’s market capitalisation is equivalent to 85% of the total market capitalisation of the Russell 2000 index.
Apple’s size gives it an unusual presence in the stock market. The stock has a weighting of 6.5 per cent in the S.P. 500, the largest in 40 years. As the most important component, Apple and Microsoft combined to reach their highest levels in decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the Dow Jones Indices.
At the same time, Cook has joined the “super-elite CEO” club, which has not actually created the companies they are running. Mr Cook’s net worth is more than $1bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Cook’s estimate of net assets is based on an analysis of documents submitted to regulators and combines the market performance of a typical wealthy investor with his share sales income. Mr. Cook, 59, said in 2015 that he planned to donate most of his wealth and that he had now donated millions of dollars worth of Apple stock. If he had made other undisclosed charitable donations, his wealth might have diminished.
Josh Rosenstock, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment. “The technology cycle is much bigger and lasts much longer than I thought,” says Hussein Kanji, a partner at Hoxton Ventures, a venture capital firm. Of all the stocks, Apple has become the greatest cash-generating machine of all time. After Mr. Jobs left, Mr. Kanji was cautious about the company’s long-term prospects.
Apple’s market capitalisation and Cook’s wealth reflect the rise in so-called FAANG stocks, which did not exist in the Jobs era. Meanwhile, Mr Cook and other big tech chiefs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, are facing antitrust investigations, with critics describing them as “monopolistic giants.”
While Bezos and Zuckerberg hold large stakes in the company they founded, Cook’s path to the $1 billion club is more gradual. Most of his wealth comes from equity awards he received after joining Apple in 1998. On his first day as CEO, he received a large restricted stock award. Equity is paid on an annually incremental rate, and some of it requires Apple’s stock to perform more than two-thirds of the company’s standard and poor standards 500 companies. Unless Apple’s share price suddenly falls, Cook will receive his ninth bonus later this month, including 560,000 shares of Apple stock.
Half of Cook’s stock awards could be withheld, but the rest should add another $100 million to Cook’s wealth. He currently owns 847,969 shares in Apple, or about 0.02 percent of Apple’s stake, worth about $375 million. Previous stock sales, dividends and other compensation earnings added another $650 million to Mr. Cook’s net worth.
Mr Cook’s stake pales in comparison to the huge stakes in their respective companies controlled by founders such as Bezos, Mr Zuckerberg and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. Apple’s stock is widely distributed among different investors and executives, so the world’s most valuable company has few billionaires among its employees.
When Jobs stepped down and died in August 2011, Mr. Cook had filled the vacant post as interim chief executive on several occasions. But investors and analysts worry that Apple will not be able to innovate as it has in the past.
Although Apple hasn’t released a new, ground-breaking new product like the iPhone in the past decade, the company is still booming. Cook led the development of devices such as the iPhone X and Apple Watch, the launch of new services such as Apple Music, and a move into new areas such as self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses.
Even though the new crown epidemic has hit many other sectors of the economy hard, it is a boon for Apple and other big technology companies as people become more dependent on their products and services.
Some analysts, however, are wary of Apple’s recent surge. Deutsche Bank analysts said there were a number of factors that “let’s pause bullishness”, including a price-to-earnings ratio above the long-term average. Despite Apple’s share price rise, its gross margin and operating margin are not very high. And over time, its revenue growth hasn’t really accelerated.
“While there are many reasons to explain the relatively good performance of Apple shares, this trend may not be sustainable in the short term,” said Wamsi Mohan, an analyst at Bank of America, which cut its rating on Apple shares last week. While Apple has many positives, the risks should not be overlooked. “(Small)