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Apple, Builders to Have Opposite Impacts in Second Half

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Unstoppable Apple (AAPL) continues to move higher, once again holding firm above the closely watched $600 psychological price. What truly sets Apple apart from the overall market as measured by the S&P 500 Spyder ETF (SPY) is the strong sales in Asia.

Despite the overall market moving lower, or at best flat into the election and likely 2013, I expect Apple to move to new all-time highs. Apple is such a large part of Nasdaq's PowerShares QQQ Trust Series (QQQ), that a decoupling, at least in part for a few months, is a real possibility.

Why does Apple get a pass on the next six months? Apple doesn't get a pass for North America any more than anyone else. Apple has the advantage of a highly desirable brand that is increasing sales in Asia, and is already trading at a massive discount relative to its earnings growth and financial position.

It's the Asian sales that will continue to pump earnings into Apple, driving the stock higher. For another look at Apple, Real Money's Tim Melvin wrote an article that includes it: Be an Owner Instead of a Trader. (You will need a Real Money subscription, or take a look at the free trial offer so you can read it.)

If you're not already long Apple, it's not too late. Simply wait for a pullback of three of more down days and enter. Another method for longer-term holders is to sell at-the-money or in-the-money put options. You can capture some upside with a lower risk than buying the stock outright.

The pressing issue for the stock market in general, as represented by SPY and QQQ, is the looming rise in capital gains tax. Selling out-of-the-money cover calls for both SPY and QQQ makes sense to profit from a sideways to downward market. For those wanting to avoid 2013 taxes (more on that later) and not wanting to liquidate positions in 2012, selling in-the-money cover calls with December expiration makes sense.

If the market moves lower, the covered calls help mitigate losses, if the market moves higher, you get exercised before the end of the year. Upon exercise, simply buy the SPY and or QQQ again. You will pay the 2012 level taxes (or if the tax rates change as a result of elections, political will, etc., you have time to adjust) and have a higher cost basis for your sale in 2013 or beyond.

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