Wall Street analysts like to give outperform or underperform calls to tell whether they like a stock or not. But for most of us, it's as simple as asset allocation. I'm going to buy a large position in a stock I like very much and a smaller position in a stock I like but not quite as much.
Two stocks that I've built my largest positions in, and therefore think will outperform the market, are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR). Now, what you've all been waiting for -- here's why.
The market has lost its mind with Apple Let's start with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s products and the incredible ecosystem the company has built. The iPhone is still the driver of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and it hasn't been reported enough that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) gained 3.5% market share to 37.8% between Oct. 2012 and Jan. 2013. Whoever thinks the iPhone is somehow losing steam isn't paying attention to the numbers.
In the tablet market, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still king, but it has a plethora of competitors nipping at its heels. The good news is that the overall tablet market continues to grow, even if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) loses share. A report released by IDC today predicted that handheld computer sales (tablets) would be 190.9 million units this year and grow to 350 million units by 2017. Apple's share of this market is predicted to fall to 46% from 51% a year ago, but it is expected to maintain a 43.5% share by 2017 (15% compound growth rate). With the overall tablet growth predicted in the next four years, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could lose nearly half of its market share and keep shipments flat. This will be important when we get to valuation.
From a competitive standpoint, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in a strong position. For one, it appears that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s e-reader obsession is a thing of the past and a form similar to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s will win out. IDC says 26.4 million e-readers were sold in 2011, but that number fell to 18.2 million last year and will gradually decline by 2015. From a market share standpoint, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will command 48.8% of shipments this year and, after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), it leaves 4.7% for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Microsoft is the one long-term competitor to watch over the next few years because of its integration with Windows (similar to Apple) and IDC predicts total market share of 10.1% by 2017.
To sum all of that up, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still king among tablets, even if its lead gets a bit smaller.
The PC business will continue a slow decline, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has maintained strong share in this business and that should continue. The company will also likely release some new products over the next few years that will provide a new revenue stream, whether it's a watch, a TV, or something else. I haven't even touched on the sticky ecosystem Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has built that keeps people buying its products and spending money on iTunes and the App Store. So, if the iPhone is strong, the iPad is growing, Macs are flat-ish, and there are new products coming, the stock should trade with at least a P/E range of 12-15, right?
Today, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a market cap of $405 billion, no debt, and $137 billion in cash. If we look past the tax associated with bringing cash home, that means investors are paying about $268 billion for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The company has earned $41.8 billion over the past year so the P/E ratio is 6.4, and with $56.7 billion of operating cash generated over the past year, the stock trades at 4.7 times operating cash flow. Considering the strong fundamentals in the company's biggest products and potential growth with new product, I think that makes the stock a steal. That's why it's one of my biggest holdings.
The power of the sun As excited as I am about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), I'm even more excited about the opportunity for SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR). The solar market is just beginning to emerge, particularly in sunny and sustainable markets such as the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Japan, and India.