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As Apple nears a $2 trillion market valuation, trader is wary of one factor

The big just keep getting bigger.

Apple, the largest publicly traded company in the world, is nearing an unprecedented $2 trillion market cap.

To cross that threshold, the stock needs to trade as high as $467.77 before its stock splits at the end of the month. It closed just above $458 on Monday.

Mark Tepper, founder of Strategic Wealth Partners, says all investors should have some position in Apple. However, after Apple stock’s nearly 60% run this year, Tepper says it may be time to shrink that exposure.

“First and foremost, Apple is a must-own. You have to have it in your portfolio because it’s nearly 7% of the S&P 500 and if you don’t own it to some extent, you run the risk of severely underperforming the benchmark,” Tepper said on CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Monday. “So the question investors should be asking themselves is how to manage this risk. And for us and our clients, we’ve been trimming the position as it continues to go up.”

Tepper says valuation is one of the top fundamental reasons to consider taking some money off the table on Apple.

“All of the returns over the course of the last 18 months have come from multiple expansion. So, 18 months ago we were at about an 11 on the forward PE, now we’re at [30] times,” said Tepper. “It’s important to trim your position so it’s not a ridiculous overweight. It’s always a good thing to play with the house’s money.”

Apple’s 30 times forward multiple compares with 22 times average for the S&P 500.

The technical case for more gains in Apple remains strong, though, says Blue Line Capital President Bill Baruch. He noted that Apple is in its third leg of a breakout out above its previous all-time highs.

“There’s lot of tailwinds here, technically, but one thing you want to look at too is there’s a bull flag after its post-earnings run,” Baruch said during the same “Trading Nation” segment.

A bull flag is formed on the charts when a stock enters sideways consolidation or a slight downturn after a strong uptrend. It suggests the continuation of the uptrend move. 

“That bull flag over the last week and a half has created a new fresh breakout, so what we’re looking at in the near term if you’re trading this is about $478 and then $499 are your two upside targets. But again, if you’re trading this, if you get a close below $452, you got to start managing your risk,” he said. “Ultimately you don’t want to be chased out of this if things start falling.”

Disclosure: Strategic Wealth Partners holds Apple. 


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