Is the shine coming off Apple Inc. ? Its stock has just marked its worst first half in three years, prompting speculation about how much steam it has left and what could propel it further.

We're only talking about an 8 per cent decline since Apple hit a record of $363.13 (U.S.) on February 16, but this is the stock that nearly quadrupled through the end of last year from Jan. 8, 2007, the day before chief executive officer Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, according to Bloomberg data.

Can it continue to outperform its peers? So far this year, Apple has underperformed the broader market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 5.9 per cent, while the S&P 500 is up 4 per cent. Google Inc. is down 16 per cent, while Microsoft Corp. is down 8 per cent.

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Large investors that have reduced their stakes this year in Apple, the second-largest company in the S&P 500, include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Janus Capital Group Inc. and Wellington Management Co., according to Bloomberg.

Makes you wonder what they're looking at. Apple's profit is projected to jump 66 per cent to $5.4-billion in the quarter ended June 25, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales are predicted to grow 57 per cent to $24.7-billion. Its profit has risen more than 75 per cent in the past two quarters. This is a company with zero "sell" ratings from analysts tracked by Bloomberg.

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About the Author
Deputy head of Audience

Sonali Verma is deputy head of audience at the Globe and Mail. She is a business journalist with more than 20 years of experience, mainly in digital media.She was previously the Globe and Mail’s senior editor in charge of audience engagement, overseeing its homepages as well as social media operations. More