Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Why investors are better off without Macworld

December 18, 2008: 6:38 PM ET

stevejobs_macworld_2007Apple (AAPL) may have dropped nearly 7% on the news that Steve Jobs is blowing off Macworld, but according to Bullish Cross' Andy Zaky, investors should be happy he did.

In an unpublished analysis of the company's last four major press events -- starting with Macworld 2008 and ending with October's Spotlight on Notebooks -- Zaky documents a pattern that's become increasingly self-destructive.

"All of Apple's media events," he writes, "are met with crazy rumor mongering, irrationally exuberant speculation and undue rants about Steve Jobs' health."

The result is that almost every Apple extravaganza since Macworld 2007 -- no matter what news comes out of it -- has triggered a massive sell-off of Apple stock.

Take, for example, the effect on the share price of the last four press events:

Apple events

The nearly 11% drop last June is probably the most shocking, given the rave reviews, the huge lines and the sales the iPhone 3G has continued to rack up.

The release of the new iPhone -- like nearly every Apple event this year -- was billed by traders as "buy on the rumor, sell on the news." Instead, says Zaky, they've been selling on the rumor AND on the news.

If that's how Wall Street is going to react to these things, why bother having them?

Not that Zaky is suggesting that Wall Street figured into Steve Jobs' Macworld decision, one way or the other. "Personally," he says, "I think Apple cares less about its shareholders than almost any other company out there."

What he is suggesting is that the event-marketing strategies Steve Jobs uses to draw attention to his products may work for him, but they aren't working any more for his investors.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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