With $600 only one small leg higher and within a reasonable bullish move, we may finally hear the last of the dire predictions of a $400 Apple. While investors that did their homework knew it would take a black swan event to crush the shares down that far, it didn't seem to prevent many in the media from declaring Apple is all but dead.
Some of the hyperbole is understandable. It's hard to make sense of a market that places
share price above $200 while at the same time driving Apple's shares under $600.
For a few days, Apple's stock was on a big enough sale that the dividend rose to 2%. Never mind the fact that Apple produces products in demand enough to warrant incredibly high margins, once the snowball began rolling down the hill it gained in size and speed.
Amazon has so far offered little more than improving revenue. Revenue, it appears is enough if people like the company. Should revenue be enough? Of course not, but the line of thinking goes something like this: As soon as Amazon is finished building out the world's greatest online ordering system (something that has been in the works since before the dot com bubble), Amazon will be able to raise prices and or lower the capital investment, and profits will roll in.
Meanwhile, back at 1 Infinite Loop (Apple's address), iPhone 5s and iPad minis are selling as fast as the iFactories can produce and ship to the iBuyers. Apple has many other products including the Mac, iTunes, iPod, and others that are selling like gangbusters, but once again, it doesn't seem to make much difference to those who are quick to "inform" you of Apple's impending irrelevance.
For doomsayers it all makes perfect sense. Perfect sense if you consider operating margins above 30% and profit margins above 25% mean the end is near. You don't see margins like that in
, and definitely, not in Amazon.
Dell's profit margin is near 5%, one fifth that of Apple. Nokia does not have a profit margin unless you count a negative number. Poor Amazon, the company as I have written is overvalued many times, displays a profit margin that makes Dell look good. Amazon's profit margin is less than 1% (negative based on last quarter's dismal results). Right, I know it's not dismal as long as you're willing to forget about that pesky term "return on equity."
Even with Apple's relatively large (more than 40% for those keeping track) return on equity, I will admit life as an Apple bull I was "partly cloudy" as I watched Apple break below the largely followed 200 day moving average. As if by magic, each price tick lower ushered in another in a string of bearish articles and I continued to scratch my head.
Knowing that emotion rules the short term, and logic rules the long term, I was content to watch the circus play out and maintained my bullish stance. In fairness, it wasn't that hard regardless of the numbers. Experienced traders know that the type of price break Apple had through the key 200 day moving average almost always gets retested relatively soon.
Sure enough, here we are three weeks later and Apple is trading near the 200 day moving average of $599. The conversation has markedly changed, although I have not changed my opinion. I recently wrote "anything under $600 is a gift" and you should take it if you can.
If someone is willing to give you the gift of Apple for under $600, take it and consider it an early holiday present. It's hard enough to make money in this market, so when given a chance to receive more value than what you paid, take it.
As many know, value is what you receive, and the price is what you pay. They often have seemingly little resemblance to each other, albeit they are "loosely" correlated. A few days ago Apple traded for less than $530, and on Tuesday it closed at about $585. Did the value of Apple really increase 10% in a few short days? Of course not, only the price changed, not the value of the company.
Many people have it backwards too. Price isn't someone's opinion of what a stock is worth, the value is. Value is based on an investor's opinion of what a stock is worth, and if an investor believes the price is below the value based on their opinion they are buyers and if they believe the price is higher than the value, they will sell.
After the recent retracement higher in price, a near panic finally lifted from the minds of many Apple investors. Unfortunately, the move higher has done little beyond replacing fear of losing, with wondering if "now is the time to take profits".
I am still bullish with Apple, but the more important question is where else should you allocate the capital if you sell? If you have an investment that you believe will yield a greater return, then by all means, go ahead.
Otherwise, it only makes sense to maintain your position until either another investment (this includes cash) is more attractive.
At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.