Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

What the hell happened to Apple last week?

October 20, 2012: 11:06 AM ET

It lost $40 just before a product launch and what should be record Q4 earnings

Zaky

FORTUNE -- Andy Zaky had some explaining to do Friday.

Not only had he risked his reputation as a canny Apple (AAPL) trader by issuing a "buy" recommendation on Oct. 9 -- his sixth in as many years -- at what he said was at or near Apple's bottom, but he had lambasted here, here and here hedge fund manager Doug Kass who for two weeks had been telling any investor who could read, tweet or watch CNBC that Apple's best days were over and now was the time to sell. (See Meet one of they guys tugging on the Apple slingshot.)

On Tuesday Zaky wrote that he didn't believe Apple would fall below $615 a share.

But on Friday -- two trading days before a major product launch and four before the company is scheduled to release what everyone on Wall Street expects will be record fourth-quarter earnings -- the stock tore right through $615 to close at $609.84, down more than $40 (6.2%) from Tuesday's high and nearly $100 (13.5%) off its Sept. 21 high of $705.07.

Kass

Was Kass right after all?

We asked Zaky on Friday, and he responded -- a bit more defensively than usual, but as convinced as ever that Apple is headed for $1,000 by this time next year:

"You know what's interesting about today?," he wrote. "The indicators that I look for when calling that absolute low point have actually triggered today. A lot of people are probably freaking out not realizing that Apple has probably bottomed.

"One of three outcomes naturally follow a day like today:

1. Apple can gap-up Monday and begin a multi-month rally making Friday's close the low;
2. Apple can open way down on Monday, sell-off more at the open, hit a capitulation point and then reverse the losses to close green (my favorite).
3. Apple can open the day flat, sell-off down to $600 a share, capitulate and then reverse to close green (also an ok outcome)

"Too many people believe the entire world of investing is based on what happens in the next 15 minutes instead of what happens over the next 15-months.

"In October 2008, when everyone was busy selling the banks, Warren Buffett was buying billions of dollars worth of Goldman Sachs. When the selling on the S&P worsened over the next 5-months there were plenty of people who were quick to point out how wrong Buffett was. Meanwhile, he just did his thing and his GS investment is now paying off in a huge way.

"I recommended Apple at $80 in November 2008 and got the same flack when Apple didn't start rallying until March 2009. But in the end, that paid-off huge to anyone who didn't get caught up in the nonsense.

"Right now, we're seeing the same thing happen here. Kass is making fundamentals-driven arguments against Apple as the reason for this sell-off. If Kass is right, then Apple won't bottom and then rally to $1,000 a share. It will just trade sideways like Google did for several years. Apple has multiple corrections a year, none of them having to do with Apple's fundamentals.

"So we will see who's right a year from now. Those who want to prematurely call it, let them call it. In fact, I hope they do. Let people even write about today. Then we will review where things are a year from now."

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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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