Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 96,832,513 shares, an increase of 142.7% from the February 15th total of 39,903,215 shares. Approximately 2.1% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 22,065,273 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 4.4 days.

In related news, Director Arthur D. Levinson sold 1,521 shares of Apple stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $167.71, for a total transaction of $255,086.91. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 1,134,804 shares in the company, valued at $190,317,978.84. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.05% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Semmax Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in Apple during the 4th quarter valued at about $50,000. Portfolio Solutions LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Apple during the 4th quarter valued at about $76,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 30.6% during the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 614 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $97,000 after buying an additional 144 shares during the last quarter. Truehand Inc acquired a new stake in shares of Apple during the 4th quarter valued at about $108,000. Finally, INR Advisory Services LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Apple during the 4th quarter valued at about $124,000. 56.59% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of AAPL opened at $181.71 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $849.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.26, a P/E/G ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.13. Apple has a 1-year low of $142.00 and a 1-year high of $233.47. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79, a quick ratio of 1.25 and a current ratio of 1.30.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 29th. The iPhone maker reported $4.18 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.17 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $84.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $84.07 billion. Apple had a return on equity of 50.92% and a net margin of 22.72%. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Apple will post 11.39 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, February 14th. Investors of record on Monday, February 11th were paid a $0.73 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, February 8th. This represents a $2.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.61%. Apple’s dividend payout ratio is currently 24.52%.

AAPL has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $228.00 target price on shares of Apple in a report on Friday, January 11th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $185.00 target price on shares of Apple in a report on Friday, January 18th. Rosenblatt Securities set a $165.00 target price on Apple and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, December 6th. ValuEngine lowered Apple from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 1st. Finally, Loop Capital lowered Apple from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $145.69 target price on the stock. in a report on Thursday, January 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-three have assigned a hold rating and twenty-two have issued a buy rating to the stock. Apple presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $192.47.

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Apple Company Profile

Apple Inc designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, and personal computers. It also sells various related software, services, accessories, and third-party digital content and applications. The company offers iPhone, a line of smartphones; iPad, a line of multi-purpose tablets; and Mac, a line of desktop and portable personal computers, as well as iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS operating systems.

Further Reading: Why are analyst ratings important in trading stocks?

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