Trading Nation

Apple is having its worst month of the year, but it could be the perfect time to buy

Trading Nation: Buy Apple pullback?

Apple is being rattled to the core.

Shares of the tech giant fell Tuesday and were 1% lower at $176.51 in Wednesday's premarket after Citi slashed its price target on the stock to $205, based on concerns over what the trade war will mean for iPhone sales in China.

Apple has now shed more than 11% this month, and with just three trading days left in May, the stock is set to post its worst month of the year.

But while the Street gets progressively more cautious — last week UBS, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Nomura cut their price targets on Apple — some investors are saying the bad news is already priced in and that the stock is a relatively attractive buy at current levels.

"We do like Apple under 180 bucks as a long term investment," Strategic Wealth Partners' Mark Tepper said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"Their deal with Qualcomm ensures they're going to have that 5G phone next year, and we like their transition to more of the high-margin recurring revenue services businesses. So I would say at this price we like it."

In Q2, Apple netted $11.45 billion in services revenue, about 20% of the company's total revenue. The services business has been a key area of focus for the tech giant as it seeks to shift away from a hardware-driven business.

Apple hit an all-time intraday high of $233.47 in October, but it's now trading nearly 25% lower.

The company has been hit especially hard by trade war jitters. Apple assembles its iPhones in China, and the region is a key buyer of Apple products. In 2018, Greater China generated $51 billion in revenue for Apple, the third-highest region behind the Americas and Europe.

Tepper believes trade uncertainties are already reflected in the stock's price, and he says the Street may have become overly bearish.

"From our perspective, the market has already discounted all the China headwinds," he said, adding that it's "unlikely" iPhones will be banned in China.

After studying the performance charts, Oppenheimer's Ari Wald says that while Apple may continue trading in a range, investor demand for the overall tech space will provide a floor on Apple's slide.

Wald says the two key levels that investors should be watching are $173 and $192. In terms of technical analysis the first is support, meaning that as the stock approaches $173 investors will step in and buy, thereby driving the price higher; $192 is overhead resistance, or a level that the stock has had trouble surpassing. Until the stock can top that upper level, it will be range bound, according to Wald.

"For Apple I think the key positive here is more the view of the overall sector. For us, the macro backdrop suggests that technology should continue to outperform, and I think Apple has a bid for that. I think there's a floor out there. But trading action has been mixed for the stock, and we are thinking about it more as a range," he said.

Disclosure: Strategic Wealth Partners owns shares of Apple.