If you think Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) rally has run its course this year, think again.
Apple is absolutely dominating the rest of the market in 2017. Shares are up a whopping 39% on a total returns basis, which means that Apple's stock price has added more than $231 billion in market value to investors' portfolios since the calendar flipped to January.
That's more or less the entire market value of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) created in the last seven and a half months.
And, critically, absolutely zero has changed in Apple's price trajectory in recent months. Zero. Zilch. That means shares are still on course for higher highs this summer -- and Apple's monster momentum makes it one of the strongest stocks you can add to your portfolio right now.
To figure out the optimal time to be a buyer in this tech behemoth, we're turning to the charts for a technical look at where shares of Apple are headed next.
Here's an updated look at Apple's chart:
You don't need to be an expert technical trader to figure out what's happening with shares of Apple right now. Instead, the price setup that's been in play all year long is just about as simple as they get. Apple has been bouncing its way up and to the right in a well-defined uptrending channel since last summer, catching a bid on every successive test of trendline support.
Simply put, the last seven tests of the bottom of Apple's trading range have provided outstanding buying opportunities for shares. At this point, Apple is consolidating just above the exact same trend line support level that's provided a springboard for shares during that entire span. That means, investors looking for a buying opportunity in Apple should wait for shares to retrace back to the lower bound of its uptrend before they pull the trigger.
Apple's relative strength continues to be a key indicator of shares' staying power in 2017. Relative strength, which measures Apple's performance relative to the rest of the S&P 500, has been in an uptrend of its own all year long, making a series of higher highs and lows that confirm AAPL is still continuing to outperform the broad market, even now.
Despite Apple's price action dominance in this environment, risk management remains key for anyone thinking about picking up shares here. Prior lows at $142.50 are a logical place to park a short-term protective stop on the AAPL trade. If that $142.50 level gets violated, Apple's uptrend is over.
Until then, Apple is positioned to keep leading the market higher this summer. Ignore it at your own peril.
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