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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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.

Facebook is too big to change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Facebook faces a sustained wave of critical coverage pushing the company to reform itself, it also confronts a law of corporate physics: Transforming a gargantuan company is nearly impossible.

The big picture: Facebook's critics — and some of its own employees, as internal documents have shown — say it has long prioritized growth and profits over safety. Shifting that kind of mindset in a large organization takes time and will — and the company has to really want it, which Facebook has yet to make clear.

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