Apple's Stock Split: Nice, but Where's the Product?

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A giant Apple logo can be seen as custom
Christof Stache, AFP/Getty Images
By Matt Hunter
and Ansuya Harjani


While Apple's (AAPL) move to share more of its cash hoard was cheered by investors, it has done little to quell fears that the technology giant is losing the innovation game to rivals.

The company, which posted quarterly earnings and revenue that topped estimates Wednesday, announced plans to boost its stock buyback program, raise its dividend and split its stock 7-for-1, sending shares nearly 8 higher in the after-hours trading.

"Anyone can do financial engineering," said Trip Chowdhry, analyst at Global Equities Research. If anything, the move shows that Apple's board is aware of the fact that the company has lost billions in market share since Tim Cook took over in 2011, he said.

Apple shares have fallen 25 percent from their all-time high of $702 on September 19 2012. The stock last traded at $524.

Apple needs to create product, Chowdhry said. Consumers don't care about the stock, and are asking "where's my iWatch?" he said.

David Kudla, chief investment officer at Mainstay Capital Management agreed, noting that time is ticking for the company to demonstrate its innovative capabilities and unveil the "next big thing".

"If you look at this earnings report, there was a lot in there that a holder of a stock can like. [But] what we really want to see is innovation -- that cash being put to work either through strategic acquisitions or through a new product," he said. "We think the next 6 months are critical."

In an earnings press release published Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook said, "We're eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market."

Cook declined to elaborate on new products in the pipeline, but insisted in an interview that Apple is working "on great stuff."

Later, on the conference call with analysts, Cook further addressed Apple's efforts to launch new products, promising that the company is "not going to under-invest in this business."

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 -- which is rumored to sport a larger display than its predecessors -- and the iWatch in the second half of the year.

Bert Dohmen, president of Dohmen Capital Research says there is little room for disappointment.

"They have had so much in the pipeline for the last three years -- they were going to have a TV, but they never had it. They've got all these imaginary products coming out, while other companies come out with real [products]," Dohmen said.

"Everything is a disappointment with Apple -- they just can't their act together and the competition is running away from them," he said.

Earnings To Buy Time

Still, the company's strong quarterly performance could buy some time, said Max Wolff, chief economist at Citizen VC.

The company posted earnings of $11.62 a share, on revenue of $45.6 billion, blowing past estimates for $10.18 a share on $43.53 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The performance "takes a little pressure off the company on the innovation story, which is still the big story of the day," he said.

"Performance has always been an area of strength for Apple. Lately innovation less so, I think it shifts the dialogue back in a direction that's quite advantageous for the company," he said.

Gene Munster, managing director at Piper Jaffray (PJC), agreed.

"They've given us enough to at least feed on till those new products come out," he told CNBC's Closing Bell.


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