Apple is driving the Nasdaq 100 – but can it keep its foot on the gas? Traders weigh in

The Nasdaq 100 has rallied more than 7 percent year to date, and just this week notched a record close, with the help of its largest component, Apple.

With a weight in the index of about 12 percent, the tech giant has served as the biggest contributor to the Nasdaq 100 this year, adding nearly twice as much to the index as second-biggest contributor Facebook.

So far this year, Apple has surged more than 14 percent, with the bulk of those gains coming after the company's earnings report handily bested analysts' expectations. Apple's surge has been good for a roughly 1.7 percent rally in the large-tech index.

The outlook for Apple remains bullish, said Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global. But she's looking for "innovation" from the company.

"Apple has been really undervalued for most of 2016. Apple has had high dividends, it has had good growth, and it has also had a great buyback program that has been buoying stocks. The problem going forward is that now that the move is done, now that you've gone from 10 times to 15 times earnings, where do you go from here?" Sanchez said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"You really have to continue to see growth in Apple revenue, and the problem is they haven't really unveiled anything really beyond new iPhones," Sanchez added.

The company in its latest quarterly earnings release reported it sold more than 78 million iPhones, exceeding analysts' expectations; the news sent the stock surging more than 6 percent. Apple is expected to release its next iPhone later this year.

"We don't think it's certainly overvalued, I mean it's maybe a little overbought, but it's certainly not overvalued where it is, but we need to see a reason to get excited for the next leg of growth," Sanchez said.

While Apple is the Nasdaq 100 behemoth, Gibbs said investors shouldn't neglect other tech heavies in the index.

"There's still another 90 percent of weight of companies in the Nasdaq 100, and you get companies like Google, Microsoft. So I definitely see value in that diversification versus Apple that is really so tied to what it's doing with its iPhone sales," Gibbs said, adding that expectations for the newest iPhone are already quite high.

"You might want to look at what other companies are doing up until then," Gibbs said.

Analysts currently give Apple an average rating of overweight, with an average price target of $140.70 on the now-$132 stock, according to FactSet estimates.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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