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History shows that Apple could see a ‘surprise’ rally in 2017

Apple to stage an end-of-year comeback?
Apple to stage an end-of-year comeback?

Tech giant Apple has proved a laggard this year, underperforming the by about 3 percent year to date.

But if history is any indication, this kind of pattern could signal a rally on the horizon.

"I really like this setup here in Apple. It's a stock that has taken a back seat to other high fliers in the post-Trump reflationary rally, if you will, but I like it on both a short-term and a longer-term basis," Rich Ross, head of technical analysis at Evercore ISI, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

On a two-year chart of Apple shares, Ross points out that though the stock appears constrained within the 50- and 200-day moving averages, "you're building this very nice rounded base of support here after, let's call it, a 30 percent decline off the top."

And in a longer-term weekly chart of Apple, going back to 2009, Ross points to a setup that formed between 2012 and 2014, bearing a similarity to this year's moves. Ross said the chart reflects a "similar 30 to 35 percent pullback off the top."

"We test and hold key support just as we have done in here this year, and then we have a very strong rally coming out of that. So I think history repeats itself," Ross said, adding he thinks Apple will "surprise" to the upside in 2017.

Some analysts are concerned that one of Apple's newest products, the Apple Watch, has not been met with the same demand as that of the tech giant's iPhone or iPad. Reuters reported this week that sales of the watch appear to have shown an uptick in time for the holidays after sluggish sales this year.

The fundamental elements for Apple appear bullish to Max Wolff, market strategist at 55 Capital, though the company is not without pain points.

"Absolutely, this is still a cash machine, it's still the marquee brand in global electronics, it still has huge panache factor, it still has room to grow in the developing world; the big issue here is that there's sort of two different clocks running," Wolff said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"They have to show us they can amp up their revenue from services, or come up with a new innovative product. They probably have about three to five quarters to do that, or they're going to start to justify the worst-case scenario," he said.