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Apple shakes off its critics as stock hits 52-week high

Apple storefront in Hong Kong
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