Apple stock is cheap, no matter how you slice it, market watcher says

Investors are falling for Apple again.

Shares of the tech giant were slightly higher in Tuesday's premarket, a day after soaring more than 3 percent on Bank of America's upgrade of the stock to buy. Analyst Wamsi Mohan said the recent "pullback presents opportunity" to buy the stock, citing factors like "modest re-acceleration in services" and "growth across healthcare, wearables and increasing services penetration" as reasons to own Apple .

The stock has been highly volatile over the last 12 months, sinking to a multiyear low in early January after the company cut its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in more than 15 years.

The stock has bounced about 26 percent from that low, although it's still trading in a bear market with shares roughly 23 percent from the October all-time high.

Two market watchers agree with Mohan that Apple is a long-term positive bet, and that the current pullback creates an attractive entry point to buy the stock.

Chantico Global Advisors' Gina Sancehz likes Apple based on its valuation, which she believes is cheap relative to its growth trajectory.

"This company has continued to put earnings after earnings, and so I think that if you look at it over the long term I would consider it the value stock of the technology sector," she said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "It is very robust, and I think that's what you need right now going into the year."

Many Apple bears have cited slowing iPhone sales as reason to shed the stock. Apple bulls, on the other hand, have pointed to the growth potential for the services business as reason to own the stock for the long term. Sanchez believes the stock looks good no matter which way you value it.

"I think there's a lot of talk right now that Apple is not really going to focus on its iPhone sales anymore, they're going to be focused on services. Even services stocks trade at a higher multiple than Apple is currently trading, so it doesn't really matter how you view the Apple stock. It's trading cheap relative to its current mix or cheap it if continues to focus on wearables and services in its ecosystem. Either way it's cheap," she said.

Apple trades at 14.8 times next 12 months' expected earnings, according to estimates from FactSet.

Oppenheimer's Ari Wald argues that it might take Apple a little bit of time to regain its prior high, but that in the long run it's heading back in that direction. As the economy slows, Wald said, investors will favor high-growth names — especially in technology.

"The key long-term positive for us are the top-down tailwinds from what we see as a broadly and relatively strong technology sector. We continue to think that a premium gets placed on these high-growth companies in a low-growth world," he said on "Trading Nation."

He's not buying the stock just yet because of a key technical indicator. Apple's 200-day moving average is currently sloping sideways, he noted, which means the stock may be range bound in the near term.

The key level Wald is watching is $185. If the stock can break above there — which it last did in November — he believes a rally could be next. That's 3.4 percent higher than Monday's closing price of $178.90.


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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 CNBC and 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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