Of all of the hardcore permabulls out there, Apple fan boys and girls do the best job defending their stock.
While the majority of the arguments contain credible analyses of Apple’s indisputable dominance, some of the more passionate ones trigger cause for concern. Consider this incredibly clever retort to an article I wrote for TheStreet by a person who calls himself “The Macalope” over at MacWorld.com:
Most of the wide-eyed stares of disbelief focused on a blog post by Forrester Research’s George Colony, but it was Rocco Pendola who got the ball o’ doom rolling this week writing for TheStreet, which graciously hosts so many of these missives, possibly as part of a government make-work program for crazy people.
With a name like “The Macalope,” you can’t help but question the writer’s objectivity.
Now, mind you, I don’t agree with the notion that members of the media or the blogosphere have an obligation to be “objective.” We can save the lofty philosophical discussion for later, but, simply put, objectivity is a false notion. I am all for being fair, but fairness and objectivity are distinct concepts.
Like it or not, we’re all trying to persuade others to, at the very least, see our point of view. Unless I am showing the reader how to execute an “objective” investment strategy or concept, odds are that I am not being completely objective. Anybody in this business who tells you they are is feeding you a line.
That said, I am going to do my best (for real) to be objective throughout the remainder of this article.
Here’s something that is objective, meaning it is “based on facts” and “can be known.” It’s Apple’s chart spanning April 1 to the close of trading Thursday, May 3, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance:
For one reason or another, Apple bulls do not want to address something that should be a real concern: Apple has not even flirted from across the room with the highs it set on April 9 and 10. This is an objective fact.
On April 9, Apple achieved an all-time closing high of $636.26. Intraday, April 10, Apple notched its all-time high of $644.00. Since those two tops, the closest Apple has come to either number is $636.87 (April 11), $631.33 (April 12), $624.70 (April 13) and $620.25 (April 18). In fact, with the exception of a couple multiday pops in April, most of Apple’s activity consists of a series of lower lows following each spike. In other words, bulls were never able to build any momentum to retest $636.26 or $644.
Apple’s near-term performance with that of Lululemon Athletica, which dumped after what some analysts considered a lackluster earnings report. That stock powered to a 52-week high of $79.90 on Wednesday and notched another all-time high of $81.09 on Thursday, settling down to $80.30 at the close.
Now, make no mistake about several things. While I consider Lululemon one of the most exciting companies in the world right now, I am not comparing Lululemon the company with Apple the company. I am merely looking at Lululemon the stock vs. Apple the stock. And I think the most ardent Apple bulls should do the same type of thing.
Apple seemed to have found support at its 50-day moving average, but Lululemon blew right through that marker. It showed remarkable strength on what was a bad day for the market pretty much across the board.
Friday is a critical day for Apple; it needs to regain, pass, sustain, and close higher than that 50-day. If it does not, it’s not the end of the world, but do not expect the right side of Apple’s chart to look like it does on the six-month or one-year iteration.
If you’re an Apple investor, do you have a Plan B? With a stock that has appreciated by 67 percent over the last year, 118 percent over the last two years and 477 percent over the last five years, I don’t think “I will wait for it to rebound because it always does” is a credible Plan B.
Apple needs to be perfect next quarter. It needs to do more than crush its own poor excuse for “guidance.” Tim Cook has set the bar so high in China that anything less than triple-digit year-over-year revenue growth in that region could be a major disappointment.
If you own Apple, with or without on-paper gains, and you’re not considering and strategizing for less-than-desirable and expected scenarios, you’re not really managing a portfolio. You’re gambling. It’s akin to hoping that the Philadelphia Flyers will bounce back against the New Jersey Devils because, on paper, they’re the better and more talented team.
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TheStreet’s editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters, and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. At the time of publication, Rocco Pendola had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.