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How Reliable Is the Rising ‘Apple Barometer’?

For at least one “Fast Money” expert, the “Apple barometer” is rising fast.

Following a weak October for Apple, with sales down 22 percent month-over-month, the company was nevertheless poised for a stronger-than-expected position next week, Brian White, senior research analyst at Ticonderoga Securities, said Thursday.

Bullish Sign in Apple Supply Chain

White staked out an Apple target price of $666, the highest for any analyst.

“We publish our Apple barometer, which is an undisclosed list of Taiwan suppliers serving Apple,” he said. “I think the numbers are going to be a lot better than we saw in October.”

In particular, White singled out Wintek, a Taiwanese manufacturer of iPad and iPhone touchscreens and LCD screens that counts on Apple for 50 to 70 percent of its sales.

The company saw a 74 percent month-over-month increase in sales for November.

“I think this is foreshadowing some positive data points out of the supply chain over the next week,” he said. “They’re also ramping some of the Amazon Fire, so that benefits them as well.”

White said the fundamentals looked strong, especially with a 5 percent market share in mobile phones and 5 percent of the PC market.

“You have a tablet market share that you control with 70 percent market share,” he said.

Weighing in from the options desk, trader Brian Stutland was bearish.

(Related Story: Is Amazon, Nordstrom Rally Hiding Retail Trouble?)

“I’m not so sure we reach that so quickly here,” he said, noting increasing competition from Google Android and the Amazon Kindle.

Stutland said he was selling some $390 strike calls and playing on the company’s slow growth.

“I don’t see a tremendous amount of upside in Apple,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a slower growth story going forward, like the rest of the United States economy.”

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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 1, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Seymour is long AAPL; Seymour is long BAC; Seymour is long INTC; Seymour is long CSCO; Seymour is long F; Adami owns C; Adami owns GS; Adami owns INTC; Adami owns BTU; Adami owns MSFT; Nathan has long Dec puts AAPL; Nathan has Jan puts BAC; Nathan has Jan puts MS; Nathan has Jan calls NFLX; Nathan has Dec calls RIMM; Nathan has Dec puts GMCR; Finerman owns BAC; Finerman’s firm has short calls AAPL; Finerman’s firm has leans & calls JPM; Finerman’s firm has short calls IBM; Finerman’s firm owns M; Finerman’s firm owns TGT; Finerman’s firm owns BKS; Cortes is long Treasuries; Cortes is long SO; Cortes is long SVU; Cortes is long DEO; Cortes is short EUR; Cortes is short AUD; Cortes is short MXN; Cortes is short GBP; Cortes is short DB; Cortes is short QQQ; Stutland is long T and short calls; Stutland is long AAPL stock and short calls; Stutland is long WMT stock and short calls; Stutland is short DIA puts; Stutland is short TLT puts; Stutland is long US treasuries TIPS; Biggam has options position in C; Biggam has options position in JPM;

David Strasser
Janney Montgomery Scott is a market maker in the securities of BKS, and may at any time hold a long or short position in this security.

Janney Montgomery Scott may seek compensation for investment banking services from the subject company (ies) BKS security in the next 3 months.

The research analyst is compensated based on, in part, Janney Montgomery Scott's profitability, which includes its investment banking revenues.

Brian White
Apple (AAPL) The relevant research analyst(s), as named on the front cover of this report, certify that (a) the views expressed in this research report accurately reflect their personal views about the securities and companies mentioned in this report; and (b) no part of their compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation(s) or views expressed by them contained in this report.

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