A year ago, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) had cleared the $500 hurdle, setting fresh long-term sights on the magical $1,000 mark. Google stock was at $570. Apple shares were at $551.
A lot has happened since then, and now the two titans of tech are eyeing entirely different milestones. After a brutal stumble since peaking just above $700 last year, Apple shares have fallen well below $500. The stock would have to move 11% higher to regain $500. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), on the other hand, has continued to be a winning investment. Google stock is now just 16% away from hitting quadruple digits.
Which one will get there first?
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the shorter path to $500, but Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is the one with momentum on its side.
My call — despite my trepidation when it comes to Apple in recent months — is the iEverything company.
Arguing for Apple
Things haven’t been going Apple’s way lately. Margins and profit targets are shrinking.
When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reports its fiscal third-quarter results next month, analysts see a 21% decline in earnings on flat revenue growth. It’s hard to decide which end of that income statement is more of a shock, but the flat sales growth really stands out. We’ve seen margins contracting for a couple of quarters now, but the argument has always been that Apple is reaching out to a larger market by offering older, smaller and scaled-back tablets and smartphones at lower markups. However, what does it tell you when revenue isn’t growing despite the sacrifices on the bottom line?
The smartphone and tablet markets continue to grow — Apple just isn’t participating in that growth when it comes to generated revenue.
The silver lining here is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has found a way to innovate its way out of its ruts in the past. New iPhones should be a few months away. Expectations are high for Apple to dive into a new product category with wearable computing and smart television being the two most popular possibilities.
Going for Google
Google’s report next month should be a lot better. Analysts see growth at both ends of the income statement. Top-line growth is padded by the Motorola acquisition, but even Big G’s organic growth has consistently clocked in at a double-digit clip in recent quarters.