CNET recently put out an article discussing the most profitable US corporations. The article shows that even with Apple's disappointing quarter that caused a major drop in stock price, Apple is still had more income than anyone else. The issue is that the analysts thought that the results were going to be even better, so the analysts were disappointed. When you disappoint analysts, they punish you by saying bad things. I am borrowing the great CNET chart below.

 

Apples disappointing quarter in context chart

 

To this analysis, I would like show how cheap these stocks really are. While I try to not compare the P/E ratio of non-competitors, I think it is valid for this one exercise.

If we look at the P/E and EPS of these companies, it is quite telling how cheap Apple really is among this peer group.

 

Company

Symbol

P/E

EPS

Apple Inc.

AAPL

9.78

44.10

Exxon Mobil Corporation

XOM

9.17

9.69

Microsoft Corporation

MSFT

15.39

1.82

Pfizer Inc.

PFE

22.36

1.26

International Business Machines Corp.

IBM

14.57

14.41

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM

9.64

5.20

Wells Fargo & Co

WFC

10.85

3.36

The Procter & Gamble Company

PG

19.76

3.90

General Electric Company

GE

17.08

1.39

 

It might not be obvious from looking at the above table of values. Looking at P/E as a chart shows that Apple is one of the cheapest stocks by comparing its price to the earnings of the company.

Apple's PE compared to the most profitable companies

 

It really becomes obvious then by looking at the earnings per share in chart format!

Apple's EPS compared to the most profitable companies

 

So if you think that Apple's days are done, you may want to think again! In fact, the biggest complaint that you can say about Apple is it seems that they are not getting enough shareholder value! 

If you think that IBM is fairly priced for its earnings then it would be realistic that Apple could increase its share price by 50% if you focus on P/E! By looking at Microsoft, you could say that the price could go up 60%! This means that it is likely that Apple has more upside potential than downside risk.

My disclaimer on this site consistently says that I 'might' be long any stock I talk about. In this case, I am long on Apple as I write this article. However, as I consistently point out in my book, The Confident Investor, I didn't pay for those shares! My current Apple holdings are all free.  If you want to know how to get free stock in great companies, I suggest that you read my book. You can purchase my book wherever books are sold such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million. It is available in e-book formats for Nook, Kindle, and iPad.

Company name J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
Stock ticker JCP
Live stock price [stckqut]JCP[/stckqut]
Confident Investor Rating Poor

The following company description is from Google Finance: http://www.google.com/finance?q=jcp

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (jcpenney), is a holding company. The Company is a retailer, operating 1,102 department stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico as of January 28, 2012. Its business consists of selling merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and through its Internet Website at jcp.com. It sells family apparel and footwear, accessories, fine and fashion jewelry, beauty products through Sephora inside jcpenney and home furnishings. As of January 28, 2012, its supply chain network operated 27 facilities at 18 locations, of which nine were owned, with multiple types of distribution activities housed in certain owned locations. Its operating subsidiary is J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc. In November 2011, it completed acquired the worldwide rights for the Liz Claiborne family of trademarks and related intellectual property, as well as the United States and Puerto Rico rights for the Monet trademarks and related intellectual property.
Confident Investor comments: At this price and at this time, I do not think that a Confident Investor can confidently invest in this stock. It is not possible to confidently invest in a company that is not currently profitable.

If you would like to understand how to evaluate companies like I do on this site, please read my book, The Confident Investor.