Since 2007, it's been one of the most reliable trades on Wall Street: Buy Apple into a new iPhone announcement, and then immediately turn around and sell the shares. But this year, something has drastically changed.
"The typical pattern of buying the rumor and selling the news on Apple product launches could reverse itself," said Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, on Tuesday's "Fast Money." By his research, the tech giant's shares have returned an average of 26 percent in the three months leading into a new iPhone announcement. But this year, the stock is actually down 12 percent over the past three months heading into the big event.
"The stock has never been down leading into an iPhone refresh since the iPhone was introduced," said Hickey. "Sentiment is a little bit skewed to the negative side here and we could see an upside surprise."
According to Hickey's Bespoke Market Intelligence survey, about 45 percent of current iPhone owners have one that is now 3 years old or more. This means almost 50 percent of iPhone owners are now prime candidates for this upgrade cycle.
"Even if they don't go for the newest refresh, they're still going to buy the 6 and the 6 Plus which are still very high-margin phones for Apple," said Hickey.