Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Apple's stock rose 1.35% Thursday, more than doubling gains by the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq and touching a 52-week high.

Driving the news: The strong gains came despite criticism of the company for pulling apps from its store in recent days to appease Chinese authorities.

What's happening: Apple shares have seen that kind of outperformance all year. The stock price has risen by around 45% this year, more than double the S&P's YTD gains and well above the 29% rise of tech ETF XLK. It's also the best-performing FAANG stock this year by a wide margin.

  • Apple shares have benefited from stronger-than-expected sales of the iPhone 11 and increased excitement about its wearables, such as the Apple Watch and AirPods.

Yes, but: Wall Street analysts remain bullish on Apple in words, but the average price target is below the company's current $230 stock price.

  • Of the 48 analysts covering Apple, 25 have Buy ratings, 18 have Holds, and 5 have Sells, according to Bloomberg data cited by Barron's. Their average 12-month target for the stock is $224.10.

Watch this space: Apple also continues to see overall iPhone sales drop, with volumes expected to fall 15% this year from 2018's total, according to a September report from IDC.

Go deeper: Apple doubles down on buybacks

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street is living up to its bad reputation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Recent headlines will have you convinced that Wall Street is hell-bent on living up to all of its stereotypes.

Driving the news: Goldman Sachs is the biggest and the boldest, paying more than $5 billion in fines in the wake of the 1MDB scandal, in which billions were stolen from the people of Malaysia.

1 hour ago - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said "the short answer is yes" when asked whether Vice President Mike Pence is putting others at risk by continuing to campaign after several aides tested positive for COVID-19, stressing that the White House needs to be "very explicit about the risks that they're taking."

Why it matters: The New York Times reports that at least five members of Pence's inner circle, including his chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus. Pence tested negative on Sunday morning, according to the VP's office, and he'll continue to travel for the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

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