NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Around this time last year, I was writing for Seeking Alpha. Readers lambasted me for Apple Bulls Are Wrong About The Impact Of A New CEO.
bulls not only ripped me, they got dangerously emotional in the process.
During late March 2012, AAPL longs were all over
rallying the troops against even a sniff of bearishness with Tweets such as:
I'm expecting 50 trailing EPS when $AAPL reports Jan '13. Multiply by P/E expansion to 18 = PT 900. Ip5 frenzy could mean 1K/share. #GetIn
Portfolio now 90% $AAPL calls and bull call spreads going into April earnings. 600 was defended today, onward to 610
Let's go 620 u can do it
Those representative war cries come from late March 2012. There was still plenty of upside left in AAPL on the way to $700 so, in theory, that flavor of bull could have done quite well with the stock, even via options. Or they could have become even more confident, doubled down on calls and
Because, when a battleground stock like AAPL starts to drop, many bulls not only double down, they start using emotionally charged words such as "defended," shouting cheers and making up inane price targets. They feel the need to follow through with the type of loyalty your grandfather expects you to show your country. It becomes a matter of personal and "national" pride. It's about as effective vis-à-vis real world outcomes as yelling at your television screen during a sporting event.
I sense this type of money-losing behavior rearing its head again. If you're Doug Kass, it's one thing to trade in and out of AAPL. If you can do that, more power to you. But, most of us lack the ability.
AAPL's up a few percent over the last week. On Tuesday, it tapped past $460 intraday. There's optimism once again from folks calling "the bottom" and recalculating price targets. There's this air that
reaffirms Apple's continued dominance. To a certain extent, I agree. The feeling bubbles under the surface that even if
sees real success with the new "Zed 10," it won't make a big enough dent in Apple's mindshare or Android's marketshare to matter to Apple, Samsung or
. Again, I pretty much agree.
However, this does not remove the elephant from the room. It does not change the fact that the real reason AAPL turned up is because of chatter around
. How bad have things become when talk of an increased or special dividend is what we need to push AAPL higher?
The stock might continue to go up. In fact, I hope it does. But nothing changed between
and Samsung's fail. Nothing, at least not that we know of, changed at Apple. Somebody simply floated a rumor. And, yes, maybe Apple will hike the dividend. That will drive the stock higher. No doubt. Once again, nice trade.
But the long-term questions I was practically alone in asking one year ago remain. The focus, of course, can Apple innovate in the absence of Steve Jobs? Until Tim Cook answers that question, long-term investors shouldn't believe in an AAPL rally in either direction.
Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is
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