Trading Apple After Earnings

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are four thoughts on the Apple's ( AAPL) earnings announcement.

First, the $26 after-hours selloff reiterates our belief that investors must be conservatively invested during an earnings report. The inherent uncertainty is impossible to predict. We are very pleased to have 70% of the EconomicTiming.com portfolio in cash with 20% of it in low risk April 2012 $350 calls. After a $70 move off the $354 low this was the right move to make. We should only be fully loaded at lows.

Second, the fundamental reason for the earnings miss is extremely important. The Street is disappointed with the 17 million iPhone number but is that disappointment warranted?

When the iPhone 4 was brand new it sold 14 million units. As an ancient piece of technology, it still sold 17 million units even though the entire universe knew a new phone was coming in October. The problem stems from unrealistic expectations.

There were surprising analyst reports released during the quarter that suggested iPhone sales were trending ahead of expectations. Those analyst reports were counter intuitive at the time and proved false in the end.

Apple was in uncharted waters during this quarter in terms of precedent; the delay in the iPhone 4S caused a year-over-year gap in the cycle. This anomaly caused by a change in the Apple calendar should not be extrapolated. The iPhone is still a great product and the 4 million iPhone 4S units sold on opening weekend is the real barometer of demand. The software upgrades including iCloud and Siri should help the iPhone to surpass 30 million units sold in the holiday quarter.

Third, Tim Cook continues to talk up the prospects of Chinese growth. China accounted for 16% of Apple revenue. Rather than building large quantities of new Apple retail stores in the country, Cook revealed that Apple has partnered with over 200 high-end Apple resellers and also revealed that Apple has over 7,000 points of sale for the iPhone. China is now No. 2 on Apple's list of top-revenue countries after the Asia Pacific region grew by 139% year over year. Chinese market share growth will be Tim Cook's legacy.

Fourth, this earnings miss was the first since 2004 and the subsequent stock dip will set up an important entry position. Because Apple fundamentals remain intact, this stock will bounce. We will wait patiently for the full opportunity to present itself at which time we plan on raising our AAPL allocations back up to 70% of the portfolio.

The holiday quarter will exceed expectations in the same way as the July report. How low will the stock fall? Apple has shown strong resistance at the $370 level but has occasionally dropped into the $350's intraday. Both of those price points should be viewed as buying opportunities.

In the grand scheme of things Apple grew iPad sales by 166% year over year and we expect iPhone sales will grow by 100% in the holiday quarter. Even the notoriously conservative Apple guided above street estimates to revenue of $37 billion and EPS of $9.30 in the next quarter. This company is humming and its stock remains the best investment vehicle on Wall Street. We're back in buy mode.
At the time of publication, Jason Schwarz was long Apple.

Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at www.economictiming.com. Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.

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