NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As Apple
(AAPL - Get Report) approached $700 in the spring and summer of 2012, I was one of the few voices urging caution, calling out dual concerns:
- Some investors were getting too emotional, irresponsibly egged on by Wall Street analysts such as Brian White, who had a cutesy $1,111 price target, and Gene Munster, who couldn't stop talking out of his rear with empty Apple TV predictions.
- Bulls discounted the impact of losing Steve Jobs and replacing him with no confidence man Tim Cook. Cook had to prove, one way or another, that he could produce something along the lines of iPod, iPhone or iPad. Could he win over Wall Street like Jeff Bezos has at Amazon.com
(AMZN - Get Report)?
In a March 2012 Seeking Alpha article, I discussed both concerns. Then, one year later at TheStreet, in AAPL Could Burn Emotional Investors, I revisited the subject.
Granted, AAPL is up about 25% since March 2013, but look at the chart, particularly the April and June 2013 crashes below $400. What one person calls dip buying, the next considers anxiety-producing volatility that can trigger sleepless nights, vomiting in the kitchen sink and rash decisions.
In any event, as is often the case in this racket, there's a little bit of "right" and a little bit of "wrong" to assign anybody with not only the guts to publicly express an opinion, but come back day after after in an effort to move the conversation forward. And I'm here to tell you today that the conversation has evolved and progressed.
Nobody Knows It, But iPad Air Changed the Game
Come 2014, AAPL stops being a volatile battleground stock, littered with question marks and misguided talk about the "need" for a bigger dividend or more aggressive buyback. In fact, relative to its 12-18 months' worth of ups and downs, it jogs, in a straight line, to $1,000.
I'm as confident about this move up as I was when I threw a wet blanket on the euphoria as Apple stock flirted with and hit $700.
Here's the deal -- in 2014, we're going to separate the men from the boys.
I flesh out my rationale along these lines in:
Apple Will Disrupt and Destroy When It's Ready
(from December 9, 2013)
No Tablet War: Apple Stock Will Soar in 2014
(from December 19, 2013).
While it's easy to understand how a stock like AMZN can outperform AAPL, there's no explaining how posers, free lunchers and companies with very real question marks do it. I'm not saying these names on the chart on the next page will all crash in 2014 (though a couple likely will). But I am saying AAPL will perform alongside them or better if they somehow manage to replicate their 2013 magic (carpet rides).