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How to trade Apple before and after its big announcements

How to trade Apple before and after iPhone events

There's no shortage of hype ahead of Apple events and releases.

Steve Jobs was master of the buildup and presentation, and that hasn't changed with Tim Cook.

But is there such a thing as "antici-pointment" when it comes to Apple? (A feeling of anticipation followed by disappointment?)

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Historical market action suggests that anticipation builds leading up to releases and events, and may then be followed by disappointment. Put another way: Buy on the rumor, sell on the fact.

Using big-data analytics platform Kensho, we looked back on all iPhone announcements and releases since January 2007, when Steve Jobs first introduced what he called a "revolutionary product."

Back then, investors didn't know what to expect or make of the original iPhone. Apple stock rose less than 1 percent in the two weeks leading up to the announcement, and traded fairly flat in the two weeks after. But when the product was released six months later, in June, the stock soared more than 14 percent. It seemed that expectations had been set, and the bar had been set high.

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Over the next few years of iPhone upgrades, Apple stock typically saw outsize returns two weeks ahead of the announcements and releases. It has traded positive more than 70 percent of the time and returned nearly 3 percent on average, outperforming the average return during the same period of 0.4 percent.

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But in the two weeks after such events, Apple stock moves have typically been far more muted. It has traded positive just half the time and returned 0.2 percent on average, compared to the S&P 500 average return of 1.3 percent.

So get excited for the next generation of iPhones and let the hype build ahead of Apple's next big event, but if there's "one more thing" to keep in mind for investors, let it be the concept of "antici-pointment."