Eight Fundamental Reasons Warren Buffett Should Still Like Apple

Eight Fundamental Reasons Warren Buffett Should Still Like Apple

For billionaire investor Warren Buffett, one stock has continued to play a pivotal role in his investment strategy over the years. It has also become his largest position by a wide margin. As you probably have already guessed, that company is Apple.

Buffett, who was once hesitant to invest in technology stocks due to a lack of understanding, has become one of the largest shareholders of Apple through his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. This shift underscores a significant change in his investment philosophy.

As of the latest quarterly report, Apple remains Berkshire Hathaway’s largest holding, constituting a significant portion of its portfolio. Although Buffett has sold some of his position, he is still holding a substantial number of shares, showcasing his continued confidence in the tech company.

Buffett’s conglomerate has seen remarkable gains from its investment in Apple, including billions in paper profits and a significant amount in annual dividends.

But would he still buy it today? A detailed fundamental analysis of Apple can help answer that question. And that is what our quantitative Buffett model at Validea does. It analyzes companies purely based on Buffett’s fundamental principles and avoids all the noise and emotion that can often cloud investor’s judgement.

Using the detailed quantitative analysis of Apple Inc. (AAPL) based on Validea’s interpretation of Warren Buffett’s investment strategy, we can see why Buffett might still like the fundamentals of Apple.

Here are eight fundamental reasons Buffett might still like what he sees when he looks at Apple’s stock.

  1. Predictable and Expanding Earnings: Apple’s earnings have shown both predictability and an expanding trend, crucial for Buffett’s strategy. The company’s long-term historical EPS growth rate of 15.7% and the analysts’ consensus estimated future growth rate of 11.0% per year are indicative of solid, stable earnings growth, aligning with Buffett’s preference for investments that allow for accurate future earnings predictions.
  2. Strong Debt Repayment Capability: Apple’s exceptional ability to pay off its debt, with earnings significantly higher than its debt levels, signifies financial strength and operational efficiency. This aligns with Buffett’s criteria for conservative financial management and the capability to quickly alleviate debt.
  3. Consistently High Return on Equity (ROE): Apple’s average ROE over the last ten years stands at an impressive 36.7%, with the average over the last three years even higher. This not only surpasses Buffett’s benchmark of 15% but also underscores Apple’s sustained competitive advantage and profitability.
  4. High Return on Total Capital (ROTC): Apple’s ROTC metrics exceed Buffett’s expectations, highlighting its efficient use of capital. With a decade-long average ROTC of 36.9% and an even more remarkable average over the past three years, Apple demonstrates a strong moat and operational excellence.
  5. Limited Capital Expenditures: Apple’s positive free cash flow per share indicates efficient capital allocation, with more cash generated than consumed. This is in line with Buffett’s preference for companies that don’t require significant capital expenditures to maintain competitiveness.
  6. Effective Use of Retained Earnings: The analysis of how Apple’s management has utilized retained earnings shows a commendable 15.9% return, evidencing effective capital allocation that benefits shareholders, a quality Buffett highly values.
  7. Share Repurchases: Apple’s reduction in shares outstanding over the past five years signals effective use of capital to increase shareholder value, an additional aspect that aligns with Buffett’s investment philosophy.
  8. Valuation and Expected Returns: Based on the quantitative analysis, Apple’s stock presents a range of expected annual returns between 11.3% and 14.3%, with an average of approximately 12.8%. Though slightly below Buffett’s ideal target of 15%, this range is acceptable and aligns with his investment criteria, considering the current market dynamics and Apple’s solid fundamentals.

Warren Buffett’s significant investment in Apple Inc. (AAPL) shows alignment with his time-tested investment philosophy, which emphasizes financial health, sustainable competitive advantages, and the potential for long-term growth. Through a detailed quantitative analysis based on Validea’s interpretation of Buffett’s criteria, Apple showcases remarkable strengths across several key metrics. These include its consistent earnings growth, robust return on equity, efficient capital allocation, and a strong capacity for debt repayment, all underlining the company’s enduring market dominance and operational excellence. Despite Buffett’s historical reservations about technology stocks, Apple’s performance and strategic financial management have solidified its position as a top holding of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio. The quantitative analysis projects a range of expected returns that, while slightly below Buffett’s ideal threshold, remain compelling in the context of the current market environment and Apple’s proven track record. This investment reflects not only Buffett’s adaptability in recognizing the value within the tech sector but also his unwavering commitment to principles that prioritize long-term value creation and financial stability.

Additional Research Links

Full Guru Analysis of Apple

Apple Fundamental Analysis

Top Warren Buffett Stocks Using Validea’s Strategy