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Is Now The Time To Invest In Apple?

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Everyone in the world knows about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). If it’s in the technology arena, Apple does it. Apple makes money selling computer hardware and software applications. Apple generates sales from everything including it popular lines of iPods, iMac’s, iPhones, and iPads. Apple even derives revenue from music, books, laptop accessories, laptop cases, laptop sleeves, headphones, speakers, cables, and docks.

Shares of Apple Inc. dropped to $250 today. Apple’s stock has been in a steady freefall over the past 3 weeks. Shares have fallen from the $270’s and the stock has trimmed over $15 billion dollars off of its market cap. Why the steep drop? Some spectators believe that the price drop is due to a glitch with the phone’s antennae. Apparently the phone has a tendency to drop calls if it is held at the wrong angle. Apple is holding a press conference tomorrow to address the “death grip” issues.

I think that the drop in Apple’s shares is not totally due to the glitch. Apple’s shares have followed a similar pattern after the introduction of the iPad, and previous generation iPhones. Investors bid the stock up ahead of the introduction of a new product and then dump the shares after the product launch. This strategy is creating a buying opportunity for smart investors.

While Apple may have to modify existing phones or give free bumper cases to iPhone users, the fundamental growth story at Apple still remains unchanged. Consumer demand is still extremely high for the iPhone 4G and the iPad. Apple is still on place to earn over $16 per share next year. Apple is currently trading at a significantly discounted multiple to the company’s historical P/E of 32.

If the rumors are true about Verizon getting the iPhone, that would open up a whole new market for Apple. Analysts estimate that Apple could easily sell an additional 12 to 15 million iPhones in the first year alone. The iPad is still in its infancy and has continued room for sales growth with Apple just launching the product this year. Imagine what sales will be like when the iPad becomes available on Verizon’s network.

Apple may be a $230 billion dollar company but the growth is alive and well. The P/E ratio at 15 is actually lower than the company’s projected growth rate of 16.5%. Apple deserves to trade at a premium valuation not a discounted one. Even if you attached the industry average P/E and multiply it by the average earnings estimate, Apple is worth at least $350 per share.

At $250 or below, Apple is definitely a buy.

Disclosure: I do not own shares of Apple.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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