Stock Traders Buy High Volume of Call Options on Apple (AAPL)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the target of some unusual options trading on Tuesday. Stock investors acquired 348,698 call options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 156% compared to the average volume of 135,955 call options.

In other Apple news, insider Craig Federighi sold 64,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $153.62, for a total value of $9,908,490.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 447,151 shares in the company, valued at $68,691,336.62. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Daniel J. Riccio sold 11,949 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $155.27, for a total value of $1,855,321.23. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 23,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,726,169.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 299,911 shares of company stock worth $46,557,634 in the last quarter. 0.08% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Apple during the fourth quarter worth about $5,625,709,000. Legal & General Group Plc raised its stake in shares of Apple by 3.0% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 26,106,175 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $3,759,849,000 after buying an additional 771,046 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in shares of Apple by 4.8% in the fourth quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 25,455,705 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $2,948,422,000 after buying an additional 1,156,639 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank raised its stake in shares of Apple by 1.5% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 19,169,416 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $2,760,779,000 after buying an additional 275,400 shares during the period. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Apple by 3.7% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 18,282,663 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $2,633,070,000 after buying an additional 645,015 shares during the period. 61.13% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Drexel Hamilton restated a “buy” rating and issued a $208.00 target price on shares of Apple in a research note on Wednesday. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated a “” rating on shares of Apple in a research note on Thursday. UBS Group AG restated a “buy” rating on shares of Apple in a research note on Tuesday. Rosenblatt Securities restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $150.00 target price (up previously from $120.00) on shares of Apple in a research note on Tuesday. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $160.08 target price (down previously from $176.00) on shares of Apple in a research note on Wednesday. Twelve equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, forty-two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $167.35.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) opened at 155.32 on Friday. Apple has a 12-month low of $102.53 and a 12-month high of $161.83. The company has a 50-day moving average of $149.58 and a 200 day moving average of $144.00. The firm has a market cap of $802.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.63 and a beta of 1.31.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The iPhone maker reported $1.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.57 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $45.41 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $44.94 billion. Apple had a net margin of 20.87% and a return on equity of 35.40%. The company’s revenue was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.42 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Apple will post $9.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 14th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.62%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 10th. Apple’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 28.64%.

Apple announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase program on Tuesday, May 2nd that permits the company to repurchase $50.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the iPhone maker to buy up to 6.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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About Apple

Apple Inc (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings.

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