MorningWord 1/16/13: Today Could Be The Day To Finally Buy $AAPL

by Dan January 16, 2013 9:21 am • Commentary

MorningWord 1/16/13:  Today just may be the day that I buy AAPL, not with calls, or call spreads, Butterflies or Ratios, I may just get in there and Buy it the old fashioned way, outright with a stop.  With implied volatility so elevated (nearing 52 week highs), there are few long premium ways to take directional views that offer the proper risk reward set up from a trading perspective.  One such way to take advantage from the vol and directional set up with defined risk and reward would be selling short dated put spreads, but that will likely come when we deem the stock to be making a capitulative bottom, and is not the play for a sustained rally.

Some readers over the course of 2012 thought that our negative stance on the stock during its parabolic run (AAPL was up over 70% btwn Jan 2012 and Sept 21st, 2012) was for the sake of being contrarian, it wasn’t, it was for most of the reasons that are now been cited for the 4 month sentiment shift that has resulted in a 30% decline in the shares.

My sense is that the near term sentiment may have shifted just a tad too negative (both by the sell side and investors) heading into the company’s Q1 earnings report on Jan 23.  Analysts have been jumping over each-other of late to lower Q1 earnings estimates (down 15% since Oct), iPhone shipment and of course their overzealous 12 month price targets that they were last seen raising in Sept!

Make no mistake about it though, the set up into next week’s print looks a bit treacherous for those hoping to trade it.  If the company were to miss earnings estimates for the third quarter in a row and offer guidance well below consensus which the street has become accustomed to, well that could signal the stock’s “dead money” status.  From an investment perspective (yes boring buy and hold) if you could buy the stock somewhere near the levels it broke out late 2011/early 2012 I think the stock probably sets up nicely at some point for a move back above $550 when you consider a few potential catalysts that could cause earnings to re-accelerate.  To be fair the only real fundamental catalyst that I see in the offing is a deal with China Mobile to sell the iPhone to their 700 million subscribers.  Geographic expansion, while potentially hazardous to their product margins, should help them compete better from a scale perspective with Android which is growing like weeds in emerging markets.  I am not going to spend too much time on AppleTV, because we dont know anything about it, and won’t until right before it is announced, but being the first major product category launch since Steve Jobs death, once could argue that it poses some near term risks to the stock from a sentiment standpoint (if it just doesn’t catch on).   Aside from the products, investors will be looking for increased dividend, share buybacks and possibly some large strategic acquisitions like (recently rumored deal for Twitter).

So you get my point, here the negatives are well known heading into the quarter, the stock has acted far worse than most bears would have even guessed, but unless the company lays an egg on Q1 and guides well below consensus, I am hard pressed to see the stock imploding.  I am a big believer in the notion that stocks can overshoot on the downside just as they did on the upside, and AAPL’s run last year to $700 certainly suggested a mania, but  a reversal from the slightly bid up levels in the pre-market could lead the stock to a nasty crescendo at which time I may just BUY (holding my breadth of course).



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