5. The demoralization of Apple. It's tough coming off the kind of euphoric emotional high that Apple's employees and investors have been on for the past few years. Internally, the relentless decline in Apple's stock is demoralizing to employees -- not only the ones that have stock options.
Furthermore, the increasing media questioning of its CEO and other executives will also take its toll on the troops. Apple is already suffering defections of key talent and this is only likely to accelerate as Apple loses some of its "hip" factor and starts to be perceived as a more pedestrian type of company.
Investors will also gradually suffer demoralization as Apple's stock is knocked off its pedestal as a "growth stock" and a "concept stock" and becomes more of a deep value play that people pick up because it's apparently cheap rather than because the company is growing its earnings at an exciting rate.
Conclusion: In many ways, Apple is a victim of its own spectacular successes. Far too many people expected Apple's golden age was never going to be interrupted. However, realistically, no consumer electronics company can sustain 40%+ gross margins forever. And no one company can revolutionize the consumer electronics business year after year.Apple employees and investors are in the early stages of a major psychological transition. As general expectations come back to earth, a hangover effect will set in. This will affect not only the price of the stock but also Apple's operations. The hangover is ironic. Apple is a company that is, in many ways, still in the midst of a secular upswing if you analyze it in terms of the penetration of its products into the global economy and its impact on peoples' lives around the world. Yet, as a stock, Apple is in a midst of a secular decline that can probably only be counteracted by the introduction of a revolutionary new product line. Such an apparition could occur, but I personally do not expect it to occur in time to prevent Apple's stock from declining to $350 or below. Investors should note that the secular decline of the world's most important stock will almost inevitably have consequences for broad indexes such as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq and index ETFs such as SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) and Powershares QQQ (QQQ). At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @jameskostohryz This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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