Taking Some Profits in Apple

Shares of Apple (AAPL) rose nearly $5 today to close at more than $188 per share. The company is faring very well during an overall weak time for consumer spending, thanks to a strong product lineup, and Wall Street is excited over the prospects for the company’s forthcoming next generation iPhone.

This overall bullishness is the polar opposite scenario we saw back in February when I wrote that Apple’s Valuation Looks Attractive Again amidst worries over a consumer-led recession and a lapse of new product introductions from the company. Since then the stock has soared from $119 to $188, for a gain of 58%. As a result, the shares have gone from very compelling from a valuation standpoint (22x 2008 earnings estimates) to fairly valued in my eyes (34x 2008 earnings estimates) and accordingly I have been taking some chips off the table at current prices.

Apple Stock Performance – 2008 Year to Date

This is not to say the fundamental outlook for Apple has changed (it hasn’t), just that the stock no longer looks extremely undervalued as it did several months ago. The company remains a reasonable core technology holding in my view, just no longer in any significantly elevated portfolio weighting.

Full Disclosure: Long shares of Apple at the time of writing, just in less quantity than before