Apple's size could keep it from 'explosive growth' going forward, these analysts said

Apple's size keeps it from 'explosive growth': Expert

Stocks may be rocketing higher, but that doesn't necessarily mean Apple will see double-digit growth, analysts told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Thursday.

"Its size keeps it from being a source of explosive growth," said Robert Cihra, managing director and research analyst at Guggenheim Partners. "But I think Apple can keep growing low single-digits."

The Dow Jones industrial average broke above 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday, and other major indexes followed to record highs. From the time the Dow index first closed above 10,000 in 2009 to Wednesday's 20,000 milestone, Apple has been one of the best performing tech stocks, with a gain of more than 330 percent.

An employee hands off an Apple iPhone to a colleague at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Over that period, Apple's annual revenue rose to nearly $216 billion, from just under $43 billion in 2009.

"The law of large numbers has caught up to Apple to some degree," said Michael Olson, senior equity research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Apple is a relatively new addition to the Dow Jones industrial average, but it's important to the Dow's future, Cihra said.

But the company will face new pressures to manufacture in the United States under the new Trump administration, which has instructed trade officials to pull back from major international trade agreements.

"Despite the services revenue — which is a great, high-margin business, growing nicely — we don't have margins expanding. Because we do think there could be increased expenses related to local manufacturing in the U.S," Olson said.

Apple's services business, including iTunes and the App Store, is still growing quickly, with revenues up 24 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter from the year ago period. And shares are up more than 20 percent over the past year.

Plus, the stock has dividends, a surge of research and development spending, and a pile of overseas cash that may be repatriated under new federal policies. There are areas that Apple could find increased growth, Olson said, including in India.

"If they had access to that cash they would absolutely use it," Cihra said.

— CNBC's Josh Lipton contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Apple is an investment banking client of Guggenheim. Piper Jaffray makes a market in Apple securities.

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