Apple vs. Competitors: A Look at the Charts

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) introduced its iCloud Monday along with a slew of other products. Although late to the cloud party for virtual tunes, Apple has a reputation of killing the competition when it does show up and this product looks to be solid with the wireless push to keep all a consumer's devices in sync via the cloud.

Other major competitors in the space are Amazon ( AMZN), Microsoft ( MSFT) and Google ( GOOG), but their cloud offerings are minor offerings within their umbrella of products.

But rather than trying to make an argument for or against any of Apple's competitors on the strength of their cloud products, I thought it would be more beneficial to look at the weekly charts for Apple and the competitors and ask: "Which of these companies, if any, should I be invested in during this market weakness?"

Starting with Apple, you can see that the stock has worked sideways since the beginning of the year. The consolidation floor is reasonably large with about a 12% range from top to bottom and appears reasonably strong as a consolidation floor goes.

Apple shares remained trapped in a large consolidation floor ranging from roughly $325 to $355. Consolidations after long moves higher are not bad things. They are typically viewed as basing patterns for a continuation move. With the closing price at $338 Monday, the best bet is to wait until prices move closer to the bottom to stake out a position to the long side. That is where the reward-to-risk favors entry.

To invest in Apple is to invest in a reasonably high probability event. Apple is a huge revenue generator and I doubt that this will change anytime soon. When you add in continued growth, it's hard to see how you can lose on this bet over time.

Microsoft's chart tells another story.

Like Apple, Microsoft is also stuck in a large consolidation trading floor from around $22.50 to $26.50. But unlike Apple, Microsoft's shares have moved lower, not higher over time. If you're wondering whether Microsoft is where you should be buying consider this question -- "Do you want to buy a has-been that hasn't given you a blockbuster product in a decade or a company that continues to deliver one blockbuster after another?"

Google has a very different revenue mix compared with the other stocks being examined here and the advertising revenue stream it enjoys allows Google to throw money in all directions and see what sticks. The stock is also stuck in a consolidation range and is nearing the baseboards on that floor.

Although I still remain optimistic about Google long term and this price point is nearing a good reward-to-risk trade, it's still hard to get too excited here for the long term. A buy around $500 with a trade back to $600 is a good trade though and definitely worth looking at. It's a good trade setup in my opinion.

Amazon is the one stock that hasn't been stuck in a trading range and is just now beginning to retrace after its latest run. If you are willing to take a more speculative trade, this is the trade at both of these two anchored support zones. A revisit of $200 in the near future is a reasonable expectation and a potential breakout and push even higher remains a possibility.

Amazon has become the monster of the midway with respect to the Internet and there isn't competition even being hinted at anymore with respect to what it does and how it delivers. The margins are thin but the customer is and always has been first with Amazon and it is starting to pay big dividends as it reaches unheard of market share for online purchases.

Until next time, just keep trading the charts!

L.A. Little, author, professional trader and money manager, writes daily on his own educational Web site for traders and investors. He has been featured in numerous publications and is the author of Trade Like the Little Guy. His new book, Trend Qualification and Trading, details the principles and techniques he writes about on TheStreet. Little�s background includes degrees in philosophy, computer science, computer information systems and telecommunications. With a trading philosophy centered on capital protection first and the accumulation of consistent gains over time, Little espouses a simple technical approach to trading the markets that is a throwback to the days of past. With a focus on swing points and trend qualification, he provides a breath of fresh air to an otherwise crowded room of derivative indicators with an emphasis on technical minutiae.

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