Apple passes $900 billion in market cap but strategist says it’s a ‘screaming sell’

Shares of Apple rallied after hours Thursday following an earnings beat for the tech giant, but that's not stopping one strategist from hitting the sell button on the stock.

Despite Apple's 45 percent surge this year and high demand for the iPhone X, Larry McDonald, head of U.S. macro strategies at ACG Analytics, still believes the stock had already gone too far, too fast ahead of the latest earnings report.

"You're talking about a company with a market capitalization of $865 billion that's trading close to 15 percent above its 200-day moving average," he said Thursday on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "That is something you don't just want to walk away from, [you want to run away]. It's a screaming sell."

This, along with the fact that China is "deleveraging in 2018" could threaten the company's sales in Asia.

Miller Tabak equity strategist Matt Maley, however, says the "higher highs, higher lows" in the stock's chart makes it look attractive. Plus, the trading volume going into Apple more recently has Maley believing that the most recent rally is more sustainable than before.

"One thing I had been concerned about is every time the stock rallied, they did so on lower volume and sold off on bigger volume," he said on "Power Lunch. "However, the more recent rally [saw a break of about 5 percent] that has come on a pickup of volume, which should be good. "

In fact, Maley also believes that despite the fact that Apple is "overbought on a near-term basis," it is still relatively cheap compared with the so-called FANG stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet.

This alone could make Apple a "candidate for buy on weakness" if the stock pulled back about 8 percent, Maley said.

The strategist's basis for that pullback comes from the fact that when Apple has traded in an "uptrend," as exemplified by a line in Maley's chart, the current uptrend line is sitting at $150.

In the past, the tech giant has fallen back to that line after a rally. The stock soared past $173 almost immediately after the company released earnings.

If Apple were to open at this level Friday, it would mark another all-time high for the stock.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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