Oh my, they are doing it again. The analysts, the bloggers, the Apple-ites, they are drumming up excitement for the September 9 meeting that is almost impossible for Apple (AAPL) to surpass.
In other words, here it comes again: "Jim, how do I trade Apple?"
Close observers of these columns, of ActionAlerts and of Mad Money know that I have developed a definitive bias against trading. The ETFs, the high-frequency trading bandits, the lack of any identifiable edge, has turned me against recommending trades. I don't mind investing ahead of a quarter but I am not trying to get you in and out of a stock. It's just been a fruitful exchange. Plus, candidly, in the world I am in, the world of a global fishbowl with lots of people actually wanting me to fail, I am not going to give anyone that level of satisfaction if I can avoid it.
Which brings me to Apple. I have been an Apple stalwart for many years with a correct wavering from $650 down to the $400s before the company went from being shareholder agnostic to being religious about its shareholders. Ever since the company started its buyback and its dividend plan and rolled out some successful Iphones which put Samsung in retreat and obliterated Blackberry, I have said one thing over and over again: don't trade Apple, just own it.
But when you get calls that can be loosely translated into "you are going to get your socks knocked off at this meeting," and you learn about something that would be a huge splash, a wallet with all of the right players lined up -- namely, Visa (V), MasterCard (MA) and American Express (AXP) -- it's simply anti-climactic and therefore a long into meeting short at the meeting situation.
I am urging you not to fall prey to that. That's the kind of sentiment trading that used to be game-able but just isn't any more. Everyone knows the same tricks. Everyone knows that there's going to be a wearable, a new phone, a new wallet, and they will be presented with great panache and then the bears will get to the microphone after they have sold or shorted and say "is that all there is?" They will be backed up with statistics that show you always have to sell Apple into every big meeting. They will discourage you into owning it through and they will get you to sell because "that's what you are supposed to do."
I am tired of it. Can't we just stipulate that it's a cheap stock at 16x earnings, two multiple points lower than the average stock in the S&P 500? Can't we also stipulate that nobody really knows how much the company is going to earn, because Apple is the most tightly wrapped company on earth?
That's why I say: stop trading it. Find room to own the greatest manufacturer on earth with the best products in existence as part of an amazing, invaluable eco-system and use the chatter of the shorts and the sellers to own the stock if you don't already do so.
Trading simply isn't producing the results it once did for so many of the short-timers out there. Oh, one more thing. If you are trading Apple against my wishes, sell some today into the ceasefire. Make all of our lives easier.