There are many candidates for major product launches, but none seems imminent. Until such a launch has occurred or seems imminent, it will be difficult for investors to get excited about a stock experiencing a secular earnings decline. 3. Apple has not addressed its value-destroying cash hoard. Apple's recently announced dividend raise is puny relative to its excess cash and represents a missed opportunity to put a dividend yield support under the stock. The announced stock buyback is comparatively large and should provide significant support for the stock. However, Apple's cash hoard problem has fundamentally not been addressed. Even with the combined dividend and buybacks, Apple is still hoarding cash at a faster rate than it is returning it to shareholders. I have said it many times: Apple's policy of hoarding cash is wasteful and it is destroying value for shareholders. Until Apple "gets it," its shares will likely trade at low PE multiples. 4. Still too many Apple Fan Boys. Apple "Fan Boys" are largely responsible for the decline in Apple shares from the highs above $700 to the recent foray below $400. Why? Because too many of these Apple fanatics have been too enamored with Apples revolutionary products, and the ubiquity of these folks and their ideas in the media blinded people to the fact that Apple is a company facing a secular earnings decline.
No company, including Apple, has a monopoly on innovation. It is unrealistic to expect Apple to keep pulling rabbits out of its hat every couple of years. When the ranks of Apple fan boys dwindle to insignificance and/or their fawning is no longer taken seriously by the investing public, Apple's stock will have hit bottom. In the meantime, Apple's stock will likely continue to grind lower as, one by one, investors realize that Apple's earnings are in long process of secular decline and that the stock is essentially dead money, at best, unless and until Apple gets lucky and is able to introduce another revolutionary product into the market that does not cannibalize its existing product lines.