Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the target of a large decrease in short interest during the month of August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 39,117,077 shares, a decrease of 3.0% from the July 31st total of 40,313,086 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 32,351,152 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.2 days. Approximately 0.8% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Apple (NASDAQ AAPL) opened at 162.91 on Wednesday. The company has a 50 day moving average of $153.93 and a 200 day moving average of $146.76. The firm has a market capitalization of $841.47 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.50 and a beta of 1.31. Apple has a 1-year low of $102.53 and a 1-year high of $163.12.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The iPhone maker reported $1.67 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.57 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $45.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $44.94 billion. Apple had a return on equity of 35.40% and a net margin of 20.87%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.42 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Apple will post $9.02 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 14th were given a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 10th. Apple’s payout ratio is 28.64%.

Apple announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Tuesday, May 2nd that authorizes the company to repurchase $50.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the iPhone maker to buy up to 6.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Several research firms have commented on AAPL. UBS AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $180.00 target price on shares of Apple in a research report on Tuesday. Cleveland Research upgraded shares of Apple from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $197.00 target price for the company in a research report on Tuesday. Bank of America Corporation restated a “buy” rating and issued a $180.00 target price on shares of Apple in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Barclays PLC restated an “equal weight” rating on shares of Apple in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Finally, Drexel Hamilton restated a “buy” rating and issued a $208.00 target price on shares of Apple in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Eleven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, forty-four have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Apple presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $168.59.

In other Apple news, CEO Timothy D. Cook sold 268,623 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.63, for a total value of $43,148,912.49. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Luca Maestri sold 4,757 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $154.70, for a total transaction of $735,907.90. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 3,414 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $528,145.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 443,744 shares of company stock valued at $70,651,791. Insiders own 0.08% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Blue Sky Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Apple during the second quarter valued at about $108,000. Hefty Wealth Partners boosted its stake in Apple by 27.6% in the second quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners now owns 804 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 174 shares in the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC boosted its stake in Apple by 852.4% in the second quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC now owns 800 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 716 shares in the last quarter. American Beacon Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Apple during the first quarter valued at about $117,000. Finally, Private Vista LLC acquired a new stake in Apple during the second quarter valued at about $122,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.43% of the company’s stock.

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About Apple

Apple Inc (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings.

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