Both Apple and Microsoft ‘s share prices have tanked this year — and if investors are looking to buy the dip, there’s a clear winner, according to one chief investment officer. “We very clearly favor Microsoft,” said Richard-Mark Dodds, CIO of asset management firm Pure Value Metrics. He says his fund has had a positive return this year, even as most major markets fell into a bear market. Apple The Switzerland-based fund manager says Apple’s shares have performed relatively better than Microsoft’s because it has spent $90 billion buying back shares in the last financial year, compared to Microsoft’s $30 billion of buybacks. Apple stock is down 20% this year, while Microsoft’s has fallen 27%. Dodds believes this masks underlying weaknesses in Cupertino-headquartered Apple’s business. Share buybacks have driven Apple’s total shareholders’ equity down to $51 billion from a peak of $134 billion in 2017 as the company continues to borrow money to fund buybacks at a rate exceeding its income. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s total equity has risen by 47% to $166 billion over the same period. “They’re going to basically drive themselves into a balance sheet brick wall,” said Dodd, referring to the possibility of Apple being unable to borrow further to prop up its shares through buybacks. Dodds, who was previously a managing director at Credit Suisse, also suggested that since Apple makes up about 7% of the S & P 500 , the entire index is vulnerable to a decline if Apple falters. Microsoft On the other hand, Dodds highlighted steps that Microsoft is taking that make it a better investment. The maker of the Windows operating system spent about $45 billion in investments over the last financial year to further its business. Apple, meanwhile, spent $11 billion. Dodds said that Microsoft’s 4% stake in the London Stock Exchange , which it announced Monday, was proof of the company’s long-term strategy to grow its cloud services. “I think it is quite smart because it just locked in the LSE as a cloud client for the next 10 years when there’s a lot of competition in the cloud service sector right now,” Dodds said. The CIO also believes Microsoft will be able to navigate a slowdown in global growth better as it is a more diversified business. Whereas Dodds said Apple relies on a handful of highly profitable revenue streams to keep up growth. “Apple’s growth and profitability are all based around growing the service sector they have, but the growth in that business is not as strong as people have been hoping for,” he added. This sentiment was echoed by Jordan Cvetanovski, chief investment officer of Pella Funds Management, who told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” last week that growth for Apple is “going to be harder and harder and harder going forward .” “They rely a lot on the consumer continuing to convince themselves that an Apple 14 is a must have over an Apple 13.”
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