Cramer on Wednesday raised his price target on Apple from $400 to $500 a share. Yet at the $500 level, the technology stock will be selling at just 11.5 times his estimates for next fiscal year's earnings, only three quarters of what the average company in the S&P 500 index sells for.
Apple's stock rallied 10 points on Wednesday while the overall market did nothing, yet Cramer said stocks are still the best asset class to own. To make his case, he compared the United States versus the "United States of Apple or more appropriately, iUSA." This comparison shows why stocks should be owned, he said, especially as companies are doing everything right while the country's leaders are doing so many things wrong.
For starters, Cramer noted the U.S. is deeply in debt. If the U.S. wasn't such a large part of the world economy with a currency that has a legacy of being worth something, he thinks the International Monetary Fund would be knocking on the U.S.'s door at this rate of spending.
Apple, on the other hand, has $76 billion in cash and no debt to speak of, Cramer said. Some critics have actually complained that Apple should be putting its cash to work. Cramer thinks it made the right decision to keep its cash, though. After all, he doesn't think there have been any companies worth acquiring. He would, however, like to see Apple pay a dividend. Being as there are only 30 companies in the U.S. with a market capitalization larger than the cash position of Apple, some may argue it already has more than enough money saved for a rainy day, he argued.
So when it comes down to it, would you rather invest in a country that is deep in debt or a company that's prudent enough to say it will sit on its money until it finds a company worth buying? Cramer is going with the latter.
Next, Cramer compared U.S. leaders to Apple's management. For a long time, people thought of Apple as an one-man band, Cramer said. Many people thought Steve Jobs was the brains behind the operation and the one guy calling all of the shots. Since Jobs took a medical leave of absence last year, though, we've learned that Apple is culture full of great minds, who develop innovative products and give the customers what they want, Cramer said. Apple's management seems to encourage innovation and then nurtures it.
Meanwhile, Cramer asked what innovation has Washington fostered?
"Who the heck can even afford to innovate in that horrible atmosphere of rancor and anger where partisanship is the worst it's been since the Civil War," Cramer complained. "Oh, and let's face it, with the United States, the customer is always wrong, or at least the domestic customer, since we give money away left and right to unfriendly foreign regimes that a less diplomatic man than myself might call our enemies."
Cramer then discussed the balance of trade. Many companies and unions are complaining that we need more protection from trade partners overseas, he said. They want the government to help them sell more, but Apple is taking share left and right. It's destroying its competition around the world, he noted. Thanks to ingenuity, execution and brainpower, Apple is doing well in market after market.
Many Americans believe our best days are behind us, Cramer said. Nobody believes Apple's future isn't as bright as its past, though. He thinks Apple's future prospects are strong.
So what's the bottom line? To Cramer, Apple is a great example of why capitalism is worth cheering for. Unfortunately, Apple also puts U.S. leaders to shame because all they can do is bicker.
"The United States of Apple?" Cramer said, "Now that's a place Cramericans can call home."
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