Investors say Apple CEO Cook’s handling of U.S.-China trade war has helped buoy shares

Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with U.S. President Donald Trump as the news media leave the room after the two men spoke while participating in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. (photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)

Apple CEO Tim Cook laughs with U.S. President Donald Trump as the news media leave the room after the two men spoke while participating in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. (photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)

Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

When Apple Inc reports results on Wednesday, Wall Street expects flat fiscal fourth-quarter sales and lower full-year revenue compared with the prior year, mostly because of declining iPhone sales. Yet Apple’s stock price has hit all-time highs in recent weeks, as has its price-to-earnings valuation.

Investors and analysts told Reuters that much of the explanation lies in Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s skillful management of relationships in Washington, Beijing and Wall Street.

Cook has fostered a relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, dining with him and conveying Apple’s views on tariffs and U.S. manufacturing. He has also kept strong enough relations with Chinese officials to avoid Apple’s becoming a target of explicit retaliation after the U.S. government moved to cut off Huawei Technologies Co – Apple’s arch rival in the premium smartphone market in China – from American technology.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a tough tightrope to traverse (of course, Cook gets paid very well to walk it), but so far, so good. There are issues with Apple’s stance on human rights versus kowtowing to Chinese authorities over Hong Kong (too many instance of hypocrisy will corrode Apple’s brand), but overall, Cook’s high-wire act is working well for Apple shareholders.

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