How to Buy Apple Stock - NerdWallet (2023)

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Big tech stocks are coming off a rough couple of years — but some, like Apple, have made major comebacks recently: Apple shares hit an all-time high on June 5.

But whether Apple, or any other stock, deserves space in your portfolio will depend on your financial situation, current holdings and investment goals. Here's what to consider when making that decision, and how to buy Apple if you decide it's the right choice for you.

1. Research the fundamentals of Apple stock

You may have already made it past what can be an overwhelming part of investing — identifying the stock you want to buy — but you’re not off the hook for another important step: research.

Knowing a company as a customer doesn’t equal knowing it as an investor. Wise investors spend time doing both quantitative research (looking at things like revenue, net income and earnings) and qualitative research (evaluating the competition, management and how the company makes money, for example). If you are new to such analysis, see our guide on how to research stocks.

Apple stock is traded on the tech-heavy NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker AAPL. As part of your research, you can review Apple's annual and quarterly reports, which will outline key information regarding the company's operations, financial results, sources of income and expenses.

You can also look at factors such as Apple's price-to-earnings ratio (called a PE ratio) and its dividend yield and growth rate, especially if Apple's dividend is part of why the stock appeals to you. For reference, the company recently announced a cash dividend of $0.24 per share of Apple's common stock, payable to those who were shareholders as of May 15, 2023.

Annual and quarterly reports are available through Apple's investor relations website, and key information and stock research is also available through online brokers or independent analysis sites such as Morningstar.

» View our list: The best-performing stocks

2. Consider whether you should buy Apple stock

If you like what your research uncovers, you'll want to consider how Apple stock fits into the rest of your investment portfolio. Investing is all about diversification and asset allocation, two terms that involve spreading your money across various investments to align how much risk you're taking with your personal risk tolerance.

Investing your entire portfolio in any single stock is considered risky; one run of bad luck for that company and your whole investment is at risk. Diversifying your investments across many companies, industries and geographical locations can help reduce that risk.

So before you buy Apple stock, consider what other investments you own and how Apple slides into that mix. Does buying Apple shift your portfolio too far toward technology stocks? Too far into stocks in general? (Many rules of thumb suggest a portfolio should contain both stocks and safer investments, such as bonds.) Or does it balance out the other investments you own?

Many investors buy Apple stock as part of an index fund, which is a collection of investments wrapped together. When you purchase an index fund, you're buying a group of investments designed to track a stock market index, such as the S&P 500. Apple is included in the S&P 500 and is a large-cap stock — which refers to the company's size, or market capitalization — so it is frequently among the top holdings of S&P 500 index funds and large-cap index funds.

3. Decide how much to invest in Apple stock

With research-backed reasons and portfolio analysis supporting your decision to buy Apple stock, it may be tempting to assume the amount you could buy is the amount you should buy.

Buying as much Apple as you can afford may not be the best decision, depending on your financial situation and what else currently is in your portfolio. Consider:

  • How the amount of your investment will affect the balance of your portfolio. Again, investors often try to build and keep a diverse range of investments — not too much in a single type of asset or company. A general rule is to have no more than 10% of your total portfolio in one stock. If you're interested in investing in Apple, but don't want to break your investing budget, consider a brokerage that allows you to buy fractional shares, which is a portion of a share at a lower price.

  • Your short-term goals. While the stock market is considered a proven long-term investment, it is exactly that — long-term. There are options for short-term savings when your goal is to preserve your principal rather than growing it. You should also consider whether you have enough cash set aside for an emergency. Financial experts often suggest having enough to cover three to six months of living expenses.

  • Your future investment plan. Dollar-cost averaging, a strategy of making regular investments over time, helps ensure you don’t pour all your money into the market when prices are high. You can always make future investments into Apple or any other stock over time; there's no need to invest all of your available capital at once.

4. Open a brokerage account if you don't have one

To buy Apple or any other stock, you need an account for investing — and online brokers offer the easiest way to get up and running quickly. You can open a brokerage account in about 15 minutes, and the process is similar to signing up for a checking or savings account.

Finding a broker that sells Apple stock will be easy, but it’s worth considering the breadth of additional investments the broker offers — mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, options and futures, for example — so you can round out your portfolio.

Also look for low or no commissions, excellent customer service, and tools and resources to help with your investing journey.

5. Place your Apple stock order

Now all that’s standing between you and stock ownership is buying the stock. Any stock price is determined by what’s known as the bid-ask spread, the difference in price between what sellers are willing to accept and buyers are willing to pay. Apple’s bid-ask spread is always changing, but you shouldn’t necessarily obsess over getting the lowest price when buying.

Once you’re ready to place your order, you’ll have to choose among a variety of order types offered by your broker. But two basic ones often get the job done: market and limit orders. The difference comes down to when your trade is executed. It’s done ASAP with a market order and only when the stock is trading at a specific price with a limit order.

  • A market order may be best for buy-and hold investors. You may not get the exact price you see when placing your order since stock prices can often fluctuate wildly and quickly — market orders are executed at the best available market price at the time. But these types of small differences won’t matter in the long run.

  • A limit order may be best for investors who want control over the price at which a trade is executed. This may be useful if the market is moving wildly, a stock has a wider bid-ask spread or if the price you pay is more important than executing your order. This is a risk of a limit order — it may not get executed in full or at all.

Naturally, buying Apple isn’t inherently different than purchasing other stocks (although the price may be higher), so see our general guide on how to buy stocks for additional details on making stock purchases.


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Neither the author nor editor held positions in the aforementioned investments at the time of publication.


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