Why Apple and Cirrus Logic Jumped Today
The Greek elections avoided a worst-case scenario but weren't enough to lift the Dow Jones today, as the index fell 0.20%. However, it was a different story in tech, as the Nasdaq hopped 0.78%. The gains can be attributed largely to Apple (NAS: AAPL) , which contributes 18% of the Nasdaq's weighting and was up more than 2% on the day. Yet Apple wasn't alone among tech companies seeing big rallies. In fact, one of its component plays saw much higher gains. Let's take a deeper look.
Apple's performance today was tops among the 10 highest-weighted Nasdaq stocks. Over the weekend, there wasn't any particularly meaningful news surrounding the company, and there wasn't much Wall Street chatter on the company today, aside from a note that developers prefer iOS -- duh -- and another bullish note from Topeka Security's Brian "I will have the highest price target on Apple!" White.
So let's take a look at what the broader macro news could mean for Apple. The company gets about 25% of its sales from Europe. That's an extremely meaningful sum for the company, and Apple has managed to see strong growth on the continent in recent years. The largest threat to Apple in the region right now is the pushback from carriers such as Vodafone (NAS: VOD) and Telefonica (NYS: TEF) against subsidizing the iPhone, as they instead favor picking payment plans for financing phone costs. Right now, they've used Spain as the battleground to test cutting subsidies, with both predictably seeing a loss of mobile subscribers of 170,000 and 90,000, respectively, in the first quarter. France Telecom's (NYS: FTE) Orange brand, which is continuing to subsidize devices in Spain, gained 130,000 members.
The "test" in Spain is still ongoing, but one thing is for certain: Weak economies across Europe will have more operators becoming willing to try out new methods for abandoning costly mobile subsidies. Beyond the obvious implication that a good world economy is good for Apple, a Europe that's more aggressively working to stem its financial crisis is good for Apple's ability to maintain the profitable status quo in how wireless companies subsidize its phones.
Cirrus Logic is a company I recommended in the real-money portfolio I run on Fool.com, and it has since gone on to a 139% gain. I've long admired the company's relationship with Apple, which accounts for about 63% of Cirrus' sales. While there are other companies with a high reliance on Apple as well, Cirrus' ability to expand across Apple's entire product lineup was impressive. Not only that, but Apple devices are also commonly hooked into external speakers, meaning the value proposition for a higher-end, custom-designed codec like the one Cirrus was offering made sense.
The company was up 5.69% today in spite of no clear catalysts. The Philadelphia Semi index was up 1.44% today, so chip stocks performed well as a whole. Throw in the fact that key supplier Apple also outperformed, and you can begin to see why Cirrus was bound to have a good day of its own.
Looking back across the year, Cirrus has already returned a market-thumping 93%! For the time being I'll continue holding onto the shares I own but won't buy any more. Cirrus is a great company, but its run is beginning to look overheated, especially considering how a European blowup could ravage the semiconductor space.
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At the time this article was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of Cirrus Logic. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cirrus Logic, Apple, and France Telecom.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, France Telecom, and Vodafone Group and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.