How do you like those AAPLs?

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How do you like those AAPLs?

By Ken Clark - 10/13/2020

Interesting news from Wall Street. In mid-August Cuppertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. became the most valuable company ever in the history of U.S. finance when its market capitalization surpassed a ridiculous $2 trillion.

Let’s see how that figure compares to some of the publicly traded companies of the Top 200 Pro Dealer Industry Scoreboard.

There are five such pro dealers in the top 10 of the Scoreboard. Builders FirstSource, no. 2 on the list, has a market cap of $3.339 billion. No. 3 Beacon Roofing Supply clocks in at $2.203 billion. No. 4 HD Supply punches over its weight with $6.606 billion market cap.

No. 6 BMC Holdings has a market cap of $2.209 billion. And no. 10 Foundation Building Materials descends into nine figures at $685 million.

It's not that I love Apple less, but that I love the hardware and building supply industry more.

Now consider this: since I began working on this article about a week ago [in early September], Apple’s market cap expanded to $2.127 trillion, adding another $127 billion. That’s eight times the combined market cap of our hard-working, material delivering, problem solving LBM companies mentioned above — created in a few days out of Wall Street’s thin air.

Let that sink in while I share my Steve Jobs story.

The very first Apple store opened in Tysons Corner, Va., and I was covering the event for a retail journal. Steve Jobs was there, standing on the store’s periphery, alone. Governed by my training, I approached and launched into a question.

I remember my opening question only vaguely. (Connect with me on Linkedin for more details). But I remember Steve Jobs’ response: “Yes. Excuse me.” And off he went to some other part of the store.

Dear reader, I’m not bitter about that exchange. I’m proud of it. I admire Steve Jobs. And I’m an Apple customer to this day. But the fact that Wall Street’s metrics are so skewed today toward the maker of the iPhone, and away from all of our companies that make and move big things that really matter in the lives of humans — homes, projects, buildings — suggests to me that something is out of whack on Wall Street.

In the language of the financial industry, the author has no “exposure” to any of the companies mentioned above.

(In case you’re wondering, The Home Depot’s market cap is $304 billion (in late September).)

My financial industry friends will tell me that rising stock prices are a measure of expectations for future earnings, and that often means high tech innovation.

But come on. Does America, at this point in its history, really need the iPhone 12 that badly?

Gentle reader, It’s not that I love Apple less, but that I love the hardware and building supply industry more. That’s why we work hard to keep score with the Top 200.

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