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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 - Get Report) 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 (AMZN - Get Report), 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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