An apple a day is supposed to be a good thing for your health. And for a long time, having Apple shares in your portfolio has also been very good for your financial health.

But with iconic founder Steve Jobs stepping down from an active management role in the company because of health problems and leaving the company’s future and strategic direction somewhat in doubt, you may want to at least check to see just how many Apple shares you actually own.

Chances are, you own more Apple stock than you might first have thought.

That’s the word from the analysts at Standard & Poor’s Equity Research unit, who point out that Apple (APPL), as one of the biggest companies in general and a giant in the technology sector, can show up in a portfolio in a lot of different ways.

“The analytical team at S&P is not concerned about the change in leadership at Apple,” S&P equities analyst Todd Rosenbluth told On Wall Street. “In fact, we have a strong buy on the stock today. But even if you think Apple is a great investment, you need to be aware that you could own it multiple times, in mutual funds, in ETFs and in index funds.”

Rosenbluth added, “If you own a large-cap growth fund, a technology ETF, and an S&P Index fund (which would be about 3% Apple shares), it’s almost certain that you are doubling or even tripling down on Apple without realizing it.”

With a market cap of close to $350 billion, a sizable cash balance and strong earnings prospects, Apple is one of the most widely held stocks in the world (last week, the company briefly passed Exxon Mobil to become the largest company, by market capitalization, in the world).

"We think that the stock is undervalued, but deciding how much of Apple you want in your portfolio should be the result of a portfolio analysis, which should probably be done by a professional," Rosenbluth said. "If you don’t do that, you could have your diversification diminished without knowing it.”

S&P, in its own investigation, found that 16% of U.S. equity-focused ETFs as of Wednesday had Apple listed as among their Top-10 holdings.

They also found that among ETFs, the two largest that have Apple as their top holding are the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the iShares S&P 500 ETF (IVV), both of which have 3% Apple weightings. 

Technology ETFs frequently weight Apple even higher. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), for example, had a 14% Apple weighting at the end of July.

“You won’t know how much Apple stock you own until you start to look,” cautions Rosenbluth.



Register or login for access to this item and much more

All On Wall Street content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access