Hedge fund honcho says Apple's best days are behind it
While nearly 85% of Wall Street analysts remain bullish on Apple, one major hedge fund operator says that the tech giant's best days are behind it. Leon Cooperman, Chairman & CEO of Omega Partners, told a nationwide cable audience watching CNBC this morning that Apple will not find a new product to replace the slumping iPhone. As a result, he sees Apple becoming a smaller company in three or four years. Cooperman says that while Apple is still generating a lot of money, he is allocating capital to Facebook, and Google parent Alphabet instead.
For the first time in history, Apple reported lower year-over-year iPhone sales for its fiscal second quarter that ended in March. Once that report was issued, Apple's shares plunged under $100 as sales declined 16.3% on an annual basis. For its fiscal third quarter ended in June, Apple reported its second consecutive year-over-year decline in iPhone sales. This time, however, the stock popped back over $100 and has been in a tight range between $105-$109 since.
With the Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus expected to be unveiled during the company's September 7th event, there are conflicting opinions about how the next iteration of the phones will perform. The two new models are expected to have a few changes this year including waterproof protection, the removal of the 3.5mm earphone jack, a capacitive touch button replacing the physical home button, a larger lens on the rear camera (iPhone 7), a dual camera setup (iPhone 7 Plus), 50% hike in RAM (iPhone 7 Plus) the new A10 chipset, and larger capacity batteries. In addition, some new colors are expected.
Despite these changes, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that there aren't too many attractive selling points for the iPhone 7. Apple share's closed today at $106.10 That gives Apple a market capitalization of $572 billion. To put that in perspective, Exxon Mobile is valued at $361 billion and Microsoft at $448 billion.