Investors are generally bullish on Apple Inc., according to the "Feb/March 2009 Piqqem Sentiment Report: Apple," a new report issued by Piqqem Thursday. The company's "Piqqem Sentiment" (PS) is currently 2.66, with a PS of 2.0 being roughly considered the border between bullish and bearish on a stock, and that numbers puts Apple ahead of its tech peers.
Piqqem's raison d'être is to use the "wisdom of crowds" to "accurately predict the movement of stocks." The company gathers data from Piqqem users who enter price predictions on various and sundry stocks, with Apple being one of the most active stocks within the Piqqem community (and, for what it's worth, Apple's first investor and former Chairman, Mike "Ace" Markulla, helped launch Piqqem with a round of angel funding).
That data is then run through Piqqem's proprietary algorithms that include weighting individual votes according to the age of a prediction -- older predictions are considered less important than newer ones. The movement direction of a stock since the user prediction was made is also considered, but the rest of the process is the proprietary bit, and Piqqem won't disclose additional details.
The theory behind the Piqqem Sentiment, which is still in Beta, is that if you ask enough people to predict a stock's price, you'll get an accurate predictor of the direction that stock will take in the future, if not necessarily the specific price any given stock will hit. It's that movement-oriented data the company is offering to investors looking to better understand the markets.
Software Engineers, Managers, and Finance Guys, Oh My!
The chart to the left is a breakdown of Apple's PS according to some of those categories. Note that management types are quite bullish on the company, along with students and software engineers, while sales types are much less so (though still quite bullish considering the economic angst permeating the planet).
People living in the West of the U.S. are also more bullish than other areas, while business and finance types are the least bullish of any demographic other than the "pessimist" category.
The report also shows that the 45-60 and Over 60 crowd are much more bullish on AAPL than younger age groups. Piqqem's report found that to be, " particularly encouraging, as this demographic still holds more stocks and has more collective wealth than the younger demographics."
This, according to the company, makes the collective wisdom of the older users more valuable as a predictor than that of younger users.
Piqqem is still relatively new, but Thursday's report on Apple's Piqqem Sentiment claims to have accurately predicted the move up AAPL has made in recent weeks, pointing to Piqqem Sentiment figures in February that were much more bullish than for other electronics and computing companies.
Apple vs. Everyone Else
While Apple's Piqqem Sentiment actually saw a slight decline in February, the company is stilled viewed quite bullishly by the Piqqem community in comparison to just about every company against which it competes. Apple's PS of 2.66 crushes Palm's Sentiment of 1.52, for instance, and is well ahead of RIM and Nokia, as well, and it is the highest of all the smartphone makers.
That said, Palm's PS has risen relative to Apple's PS, mirroring excitement about Palm's Pré smartphone expected later in 2009. Curiously, RIM's PS has risen and fallen roughly in line with Apple's PS, though RIM's PS is lower than Apple's, just above 2. Observers could be excused for thinking that Apple's losses must be RIM's gains, and vice versa, but Piqqem users apparently see similar prospects for the company in their collective futures.
Piqqem Sentiment: Apple vs. Smartphone Makers
"Apple's strong overall sentiment numbers among Piqqem users over the age of 45 is encouraging, as are Apple's comparatively strong sentiment numbers in the West," the company said in conclusion. "A recent reversal in declines in Apple's Piqqem Sentiment is also a net positive for Apple. Overall, current Apple sentiment remains firmly positive with expectation holding that Apple shares will experience some further price appreciation later this year on top of the recent stock price runup."