Not everyone loves Apple's stock

@CNNMoneyInvest February 17, 2012: 7:51 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Apple shares may have closed at a record high on Valentine's Day, but not everyone is head-over-heels in love with the company.

Following an 8-day run up that sent shares of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) to an all-time closing high of $509.46, shares have pulled back and are down more than 1% since Feb. 14.

Yes, the majority of Wall Street is bullish on the future of the iPhone and iPad maker's stock, with a median price target of $592 -- up almost 20% from its current price.

But at least one is betting against the company. Edward Zabitsky of ACI Research in Toronto has a "sell short" recommendation on Apple's stock, targeting it at $270, down almost 50% from its current level.

The Apple bear argues that the strength of the iPhone can't last forever. He thinks Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) Android 4.0, which debuted in November and is so far only available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, will become a formidable rival.

Even at $500, Apple is still cheap

"When [Android 4.0] is broadly available, it will change the playing field entirely," Zabitsky wrote in a research note Jan. 25, the day after Apple posted record iPhone sales for the fourth quarter.

He also noted that Samsung's device will be more profitable since Samsung designs and manufactures between $60 and $80 worth of components in every Galaxy phone, while Apple only makes $25 worth for its iPhone 4S.

An even bigger reason Apple's impressive run may not last is thanks to the development of HTML5 and 4G, said Zabitsky, which he says will improve the access and functionality of web apps. That will "mean the end of the closed app ecosystem" that Apple operates, which forces users to buy and download from Apple's App store, he added.

"The Internet is a great equalizer," said Zabitsky. "It will level the playing field for other vendors with the rise of the true mobile broadband Internet."

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While Apple is a highly popular stock among hedge funds, a few managers trimmed their stakes during the fourth quarter, when Apple shares climbed 6%.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mark Kingdon's Kingdon Capital cut its Apple stake by more than a third, ending the year with only 350,000 shares of the company.

Tiger Global and Coatue Management each trimmed their investments in Apple by a little over 4% during the fourth quarter, but both hedge funds still own well over a million shares.

Kingdon Capital declined to comment on its holdings, while calls to Tiger Global and Coatue Management were not returned.

Meanwhile, mutual fund manager Kenneth Heebner of Capital Growth Management dumped all 406,000 shares of Apple it had purchased during the third quarter of 2011.

Capital Growth Management also declined to comment. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
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