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Buffett Takes a Bite of Apple: Should You Taste Its ETFs? (revised)

As per the latest 13-F filing released on Monday, the legendary billionaire and philanthropist – Warren Buffett – initiated a new position in the technology giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) during the first quarter. Berkshire Hathaway bought 9.81 million shares of Apple worth about $1.07 billion as of March 31.
 
This reflects Berkshire's changing views toward the technology sector, after long been wary of investing in technology companies apart from International Business Machines (IBM).
 
The move has come at a time when the gadget maker is struggling with lower iPhone sales and weakness in the Chinese smartphone market. This is especially true as iPhone sales grew at the slowest pace in the fiscal first quarter since it was introduced in 2007 and witnessed the first-ever decline in the fiscal second quarter. Additionally, the iPhone maker reported its first quarterly revenue drop in 13 years in its latest result (read: Tech ETFs in Trouble Post Rotten Q2 Apple Results).

The sluggish results pushed Apple shares to the lowest level since 2014 last week. As a result, the value of the investment dropped significantly by 16.4% since the start of the second quarter through May 13. However, the stock was up 3.7% on the day following the news of Buffett’s position in the Apple stock.

Investors should note that Berkshire’s stake in Apple is contrary to many other hedge fund managers who abandoned the stock this year. Last month, activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed that it has exited its position in the tech giant. David Tepper also dumped his entire stake in the stock and David Einhorn has been trimming his stake in Apple, as per the latest filings (read: What to Do With Apple ETFs After Icahn Has Left?).

Apple: A Value Play?

After a sharp decline in its share price, Apple has turned to a value play from a growth stock with a Value Style Score of ‘A’. It is currently trading at PEG ratio of 1.10, much lower than the industry average of 2.14, suggesting that it is a better value stock in the industry. The lower the PEG ratio, the better the value as investors’ would be paying less for each unit of earnings growth.

Though earnings yield is on par with the industry average of 9.30%, cash flow/share is higher at $11.34 from the industry average of $3.71. Further, about 83% of the analysts have a Strong Buy or Buy rating on the stock, suggesting the outperformance of the stock in the coming months.

However, Apple currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and falls in an industry having a rank in the bottom 6%. The P/E and P/B ratios of 10.77 and 3.79, respectively, for the stock are higher than the industry averages. Additionally, price/cash flow is 6.92 versus the industry average of 5.50, indicating that the stock is still overvalued at the current levels in the industry. As a result, investors’ should take precaution while investing in Apple and its ETFs.

ETFs in Focus
 
While the ETF space is crowded with Apple in holdings, we have highlighted some of them with the largest exposure to the tech giant.

Technology ETFs: The three most popular U.S. ETFs will be on investors’ radar for the days ahead. This is because AAPL occupies the top position in the Select Sector SPDR Technology ETF (XLK), Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT) and iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) with at least 12.5% share each.
 
XLK and IYW have a top Zacks ETF Rank of 1 or ‘Strong Buy’ rating while VGT has a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 or ‘Buy’ rating. iShares Global Tech ETF (IXN) provides broad exposure to technology stocks from around the world. Here too, AAPL takes the top spot in the basket with 11.3% allocation (see: all the Technology ETFs here).
 
Large Cap ETFs: Funds like PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) and iShares Morningstar Large-Cap Growth ETF (JKE) are skewed toward the information technology sector with Apple as the top holding. Apple accounts for 10.1% in QQQ while 9% in JKE. QQQ has a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 while JKE carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 or ‘Hold’ rating.
 
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SPDR-TECH SELS (XLK): ETF Research Reports
 
VIPERS-INFO TEC (VGT): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-US TECH (IYW): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-GLB TECH (IXN): ETF Research Reports
 
NASDAQ-100 SHRS (QQQ): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-MO LC GR (JKE): ETF Research Reports
 
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