Shares of tech value darlings Apple (AAPL – Free Report) and Cisco (CSCO – Free Report) surged on Monday as the sector looks to rebound from one of its toughest trading weeks of the year. And now, with volatility looming over the entire market, stable behemoths like these two companies might garner more attention if growth investors look to take profits from previously high-flying stocks.

Apple and Cisco are, of course, not perfectly comparable stocks, but both are dominant forces in their respective industries. Apple is basically the global leader in consumer electronics, while Cisco leads the worldwide enterprise IT business.

Still, these two firms seem to attract similar types of investors—those looking for financially sound, dividend-paying tech stocks that fit best in buy-and-hold portfolios. But these investors are also looking to build diverse holdings, so they might not have room for two stocks that accomplish the same goal. So which of these companies is the better buy right now? Let’s take a closer look.


Traditional value investors love to look at the price-to-earnings ratio to determine great buying opportunities. After all, buying a stock makes one a partial owner of that company, so investors are inherently interested in profitability.

With that said, here is a look at the Forward P/E trend for AAPL and CSCO over the past year:

There are a couple of things to note here. First of all, AAPL was consistently trading at a slight premium to CSCO until about six months ago, when the latter began to see its valuation surge well beyond that of the former. This suggests that investors have been more excited about Cisco recently.

Still, if one’s primary value strategy is to find stocks that are undervalued versus their broader sector, both of these companies look like solid options right now. In fact, our “Computer and Technology” sector is trading with an average Forward P/E of about 18.7, so AAPL and CSCO are both trading at discounts.

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