Will Apple Rise From the Ashes?

Gamco Investors (NYSE:GBL) director Howard Ward says he has strong faith in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to come back stronger later this year. Ward was asked on Bloomberg TV if Apple had become a buy once again or if it was still “a hated child.”

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Apple has been in a difficult situation lately, with the company’s share price struggling after the steep drop late last year and shareholders asking it to pay out increased dividends. But despite the troubles, Ward was certain Apple continued to be a valuable investment.

Ward said he wasn’t sure why the iPhone maker was receiving so much criticism, adding that he believed people were “holding Apple to a standard unlike any other company.” He cited Apple’s financial status — it had more profit than any U.S. company last year other than Exxon (NYSE:XOM), which had 2.5 times Apple’s revenue to work with.

He emphasized not only Apple’s strong financials but the fact that it was trading “at a discount to BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK).” That fact was “insane,” according to Ward. Also, Apple was selling at half the operating cash flow of IBM (NYSE:IBM), he pointed out. IBM only “grew its top-line at 1 percent over the last five years,” whereas Apple grew it at 48 percent…