Investors who sold Apple after its first-quarter warning are looking silly now

  • Apple's stock jumped more than 4.5 percent Wednesday morning, representing a more than 2 percent increase from its close on Jan. 2.
  • CEO Tim Cook warned investors after the bell on Jan. 2 that the company expected lower fiscal first-quarter revenue thanks to China's weakening economy.
  • Investors who bought Apple at its January intraday low following Cook's announcement are up more than 14 percent in less than one month.

With Apple shares rallying after the company's better-than-expected profit report, some investors who sold the stock earlier this month following a revenue warning may be feeling a bit surly.

The iPhone maker's stock jumped more than 4.5 percent after the opening bell Wednesday to about $162, representing a more than 2 percent increase from its close Jan. 2. That was just before CEO Tim Cook told stakeholders that the company expected lower fiscal first-quarter revenue thanks to China's weakening economy, shocking investors and causing the stock to plunge.

Apple shares fell nearly 10 percent the next day, dropping to as low as $142.00 before recovering to $142.19 by the closing bell. Investors who bought Apple at its January intraday low are up more than 14 percent in less than one month.

"They're trying to be a bit more transparent, and over the long term that transparency will be a good thing," said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. "I would say that 2019 continues to be about excessive emotion being injected into the markets. Apple's goal was to reduce the emotion, but they actually increased the market emotion," Kilburg added. "You should continue to try to reduce the noise and understand that the company still has a growth undercurrent that will deliver to its shareholders."

This may also be a reminder to some on Wall Street that investors often act first on the rumor and the best time to buy is when the actual news comes out.

Apple shares began falling well into their formal announcement as traders sensed something was amiss. The stock is still well off its 52-week high closing price of $232.07, when the company's market cap exceeded $1 trillion.

At that time, Apple was the first U.S. public company in modern history with a market cap of $1 trillion. Even including the post-earnings pop, the stock price is down more than 30 percent since that closing high and its market cap has slipped by more than $350 billion, a value larger than both Visa and Exxon Mobil.