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Why Apple stock is still a buy 'at current levels' despite AI mania: Analyst – Yahoo Finance


Apple (AAPL) may not be on the leading edge of generative AI in the same vein as Microsoft (MSFT) with its ChatGPT-Bing integration and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) with its rival Bard, but it still makes sense to own the stock, says one Wall Streeter.
"Apple infuses AI throughout its products as well," Neuberger Berman senior analyst Dan Flax said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above), later adding: "I continue to like the stock at current levels."
Flax explained that it's Apple's innovation in hardware and software, not necessarily generative AI, that continues to be favorable.
"If we look to what they said about the March quarter and then think about the next several months, the devices remain incredibly valuable to customers," the analyst added. "What's going on across the company is they're innovating in iPhone, Mac, iPad, wearables. Services remains a very, very interesting business and continues to grow. And so I think what will matter over the next several months and into the balance or late this year and into 2024 is we'll see growth improve."
Still, Apple's squishy earnings release a week ago continues to dominate investors' attention.
As Yahoo Finance broke down on After the Call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his right-hand CFO Luca Maestri channeled their inner Wall Street economists on the tech giant's earnings call by using variations of the phrase "challenging economy" seven times.
The tone was unusual for the often upbeat and fundamentally healthy company.
The cautious commentary came after a rare profit miss for Apple. Earnings fell short amid pressure on sales of iPhones and wearable devices, particularly as the economy slowed and supply chains were still not back to normal in China.
Apple's stock has declined 2% this week, worse than the 1% drop for the S&P 500. Microsoft stock, meanwhile, has advanced 1.8% on the week as investors saw it as leading the pack right now on generative AI after announcing it will integrate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine.
But even as post-earnings questions swirl, bulls such as Flax are staying positive on Apple.
Growth is "going to be driven by innovation, execution on the product cycles," Flax said. "If they're able to innovate even in the face of what is of course a challenging environment, I think Apple can create additional shareholder value over the next one to two years."
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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