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Buy, Sell or Hold Apple: Psychology, Sentiment and Your Cost Basis Matter

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I went on CNBC's "Fast Money" Tuesday. And let's face it, I got beat up a little bit. I knew I was walking into a shark tank.

Former NFL linebacker @petenajarian can probably relate. I'm sure he got his bell rung early on in battle. It might not have been @K_Finerman who knocked him flat, but, hey, it's all good. She's one of the best.

That said, with all due respect to Karen, cost basis absolutely matters as Apple (AAPL) longs consider what to do, if anything, headed into today's earnings report. It seems to me the "Fast Money" crew wanted a clear-cut buy or sell; I don't think it's that simple, particularly because I don't have a crystal ball and I don't treat investing (or trading) like gambling.

Watch the video. Then I will provide context and my response.

First -- and I'm not ashamed to admit this, I was a little nervous. I think I am all right at this television thing after all of seven appearances; however, It takes time to get comfortable in that environment. Comfort only comes with time and practice. When you do TV everyday the words tend to flow; when you don't do it everyday, sometimes they just don't.

That was evident, toward the end of the piece, when I flubbed my response to a question about Apple's valuation. In bringing up Amazon.com (AMZN), here's what I meant to say:

Apple deserves more breathing room. We give Jeff Bezos and [AMZN] serious benefit of the doubt. That's because investors see less uncertainty in Amazon as it sets itself up for the long term. Understood. I support the thesis. However, I do not buy the notion that Amazon is a 3,000-to-11 favorite -- using each stock's price-to-earnings ratio -- over Apple.

it didn't come out that way, however those who read me regularly know I have been making AAPL/AMZN comparisons for several days, if not weeks.

They also know I don't think AAPL is a good stock to own right now. That's a broad statement. It's meant to be. I can't, in good conscience, provide a one-size-fits-all buy, sell or hold recommendation on this thing.

It's a tough stock to own because everything but reality has been driving the share price since pretty much April. Do you really want to be in a name that gyrates wildly on the basis of headline noise and hysteria? If you're a nimble trader, no doubt, it's made for you. However, most long-term investors should not a.) open a fresh position ahead of earnings or b.) add to an existing position.

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