Investors are hoping that the Federal Reserve makes a rate-hike decision that pleases the stock market. If it does, names like Apple are primed for a rally. If the news is negative, though, it's likely Apple and others will resume the selloff, heading lower into year-end.
With or without the Fed, we've seen big swoons in Apple before. The latest one started after the company reported earnings, telling Wall Street it will do away with reporting unit sales of its iPhone.
Does it matter? In reality, not really. But to the Street, this appears as a reduction in transparency, something investors never like to see. It doesn't help that there are now big-time concerns about the global economy, as well as warnings from various media outlets about iPhone suppliers. These culminating factors have led investors to believe that the quarter will be softer than expected and they are reacting as such. It didn't help that guidance was a touch light either.
But take a step back and look at the company we're talking about here. Apple trades at 12.5 times this year's earnings and despite its decision to remove unit sales from its reporting, is still expected to post pretty solid growth. Analysts expect almost 5% sales growth this year and 4% growth in 2019. Earnings expectations call for 12% growth in 2018 and 10% growth in 2019.
But let's not forget about its titan of a balance sheet, $100 billion buyback plan (with another big buyback plan due up in April or May) and 1.8% dividend yield. Its Services unit is churning out $10 billion in sales per quarter now while year-over-year growth remains robust, north of 25%.
Despite the swoons in the stock price, Apple will gobble up stock, Services revenue will continue higher and its business will grow stronger. That said, let's look at the stock charts.
Trading Apple Stock
We've seen Apple drop almost $70 from its highs -- roughly 30% -- in about seven weeks. That's a dramatic fall for what was one of the strongest stocks in the market amid the first month of the market's correction.
So what now? Bulls need to see Apple break out over downtrend resistance (blue line). At the very least, they want to see the lows hold near $162. That's why the Fed could play such a pivotal role going forward. Should it give investors the news they want, it will likely be enough to break Apple out over resistance. If the news is bad, it could push it below support.
One positive to the potential negative? If the Fed does give bad news and Apple is able to hold support, that bodes well for the share price going forward when the selling eventually subsides.
Unfortunately, that may not be the case. Should support near $160 to $162 give way, a drop down the low-$150s is in the cards. If the news is good and Apple rallies, look to see it test the 21-day moving average. Over time, we want to see Apple rally back to its 200-day moving average and retest prior uptrend support (purple line).
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.