“Violent waves are tossing about the world’s largest financial institutions like toys made of balsa. The dark skies ahead can’t be anything but a recession. Sheets of cold rain have already been smacking the retail sector. And yet, at the helm of the good ship Apple, all seems well,” Randall Stross reports for The New York Times.
“No battening down the hatches or throwing on the storm gear there. In the teeth of what may be a once-in-50-years storm, Steven P. Jobs calmly keeps the company on the same course it has been following since the skies were clear,” Stross reports. “Premium prices for premium products — surely this is a formula most unsuited for frugal times. But the analysts with whom I spoke aren’t particularly concerned; all, it seems, list Apple as a buy.”
“We’ll soon get a glimpse of what Mr. Jobs and his colleagues see: on Tuesday, the company will release its earnings report for the quarter that ended Sept. 30,” Stross reports. “The numbers will undoubtedly document Apple’s momentum in taking market share from Windows-equipped PCs. Yair Reiner, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company, wrote earlier this month that he expected sales of Apple’s desktop models to grow 13 percent, to 4.3 million, in the 2009 fiscal year and notebook sales to increase by 12 percent, to 6.76 million. Even if the industry suffers a downturn, he expects that Apple will suffer less than its competition and will still gain market share. ‘The upshot is that even against a very bleak macroeconomic backdrop,’ Mr. Reiner said, ‘Apple should be able to continue growing.'”
Stross reports, “If hard times do arrive, Apple has a perfectly clean balance sheet, with $20.8 billion in cash and no debt. The biggest problem that its corporate treasury faces is what to do with the cash, which Shannon Cross, of Cross Research, estimates will grow to about $30 billion by the end of 2009.”
More in the full article here.