Apple stock (AAPL) has fallen off a small cliff today. Are there real problems to worry about? Are investors fatigued? Or is it all just another manipulation in advance of Apple’s earnings report?
Apple is a company that’s just about unstoppable in its success. Demand for the iPad 2 remains strong, and some companies that had iPad roll out plans have had to defer. It would be reasonable to surmise that Apple will have a glowing earnings report.
Amidst this, however, there are some contrary winds. The disaster in Japan and consequent parts shortages and reports of the continuing rise in market share of Android seem to have investors spooked. Over the weekend, Henry Blodget at the Business Insider suggested that the iPhone is Dead in the water. His analysis was based on recent comScore data that showed negligible rise in iPhone market share over the past few months while Google gained 7 more percent.
Immediately, critics pointed out that the comScore data doesn’t fully reflect the availability of the Verizon iPhone because it was only available for a partial month. Even so, Phililp Elmer-DeWitt, doing some basic math with the data at hand, had a hard time uncovering the so-called Verizon iPhone bump.
Where does that leave us? There’s no question that Android is coming on fast in smartphone market share. A reasonable person would believe that Apple is concerned, even if Apple is selling boatloads of iPhones and making lots of money. And yet, rumors persist that Apple won’t be able to ship the iPhone 5 in June, for many solid reasons, and so investors are getting a bit edgy.
Worse, influential investors are always looking for a buying opportunity, and the confluence of negative events for Apple creates a convenient opportunity to drive AAPL down, just a few weeks prior to the company’s earnings report. Against this background, one might suppose that Apple might disclose how many iPads 2s it has sold, but one would suppose wrong. Apple employees like to buy stock as well, and April 20th, after the U.S. Stock Exchange closes, is the right time to brag about all that.
My take is that all the negative vibes in the air right now are making some investors nervous all the while others who are more confident are planning to swoop in and buy AAPL for a bargain price. It all depends on your personal take on Apple’s prospects. Personally, I think Apple is going to have some more fabulous news to announce on April 20th, and all the naysayers are going to look a little foolish — again.
AAPL is currently selling at US$340.13, down $4.43.