I know this is the type of title of an article that will set off alarms across the world. Hounds of Apple (AAPL) bulls and packs of Dell (DELL) bears (many feeling the same about both stocks) will hunt me down like Tommy Lee Jones looking for Harrison Ford in the Fugitive.
At the end of the day, much like the movie, I hope to be vindicated as good old Dr. Richard Kimble was. So what has prompted this article? I want to make myself clear, I am bullish on Dell based on its price and potential, and am still bullish long term on Apple (as I have been). I just feel that Apple will not continue to climb quite as much as it has been this past 8 months or so. So why you ask?
Current price: Apple sits in the $600 range, up nearly 52% this YTD alone. Although I am not surprised by the run, I did not expect it to run this fast for this long. Many of you have seen me write about this in the past. Much of this was based on good news throughout the year, and the fact it was the hottest stock for the 1st half of this year. However, Apple could (finally) hit a speed bump on the road. Now that earnings are in, this is more evident as Apple missed the street's number. They came in with a 21% increase in earnings instead of the 33% that was projected.
Dell on the other hand, dropped 2% again today and is now at a 52 week low, with a difference of nearly $7 a share between its high and low for the year. I feel (especially with the addition of a dividend coming) that it is priced for the buyer to accumulate where Apple may be coming back a bit more before all is said and done. I do believe both stocks have upside but I can see Dell growing in price percent wise in the short term faster.
As I mentioned in an article previously, Apple has nowhere to go but down in terms of market share. As you can see from the article, Apple had 82% of the tablet market share, and 23% of the smartphone market (both admittingly impressive). Although both markets are increasing, will Apple's sales keep up with the demand enough to keep their profits in line? Dell is currently cutting costs and price on its tablets and expect tablet sales to quadruple within the next year. That allows them to grow that market while Apple is looking to tread water. Trefis had a great article where much of the Dell data I am providing are shown.
Can't beat them, go around:
Apple is a juggernaut, no question about it. They are the king of the hill in many areas, especially phones and tablets. So why butt heads with them? Dell is expecting its services area (storage, security, client systems etc) to grow to almost 9.2 Billion in 2012, and almost 11 Billion by the end of 2013. What is important is as this sector grows, they also plan on keeping their gross margins in line to increase net profit. Will they outlast Apple long term in this market? Who knows, but short term it should give them a boost. The acquisition of Quest this week does shed some light on their strategy.
In closing I am not sure where Dell will be in the next 2-3 years, it may go the way of the Dodo. However, I do believe that in the short term it has more upside in the next 6 months than Apple does, and it has a plan and strategy that can get its share price back to the mid teens as it was just a few months ago. Its share price is down 20% since then, which I believe makes this an attractive short term investment.
Long term I do believe Apple is the way to go. They have too much of an advantage on the competition and too many great minds it seems thinking of the next great thing. I think short term the competition will catch up a bit (as the US Marshals did so many times in The Fugitive) but in the end the truth will set them free (being the monster they are) and they will continue to climb to record share prices.