FORTUNE -- You'll find them on Seeking Alpha, often posting with agendas hidden under pseudonyms like Options Pundit, Income Hunter and Jaded Consumer.
And with Apple's (AAPL) stock dropping 11% from a record high two trading before a pivotal quarterly earnings report, they're full of free -- and often conflicting -- advice.
Confused yet? The fact is, nobody knows which way Apple's shares are going to move after the company reports its second fiscal quarter earnings Tuesday. The blowout that the most bullish independent analysts predict could spark a massive rally to new highs. A run-of-the-mill earnings beat on the order of the Street's consensus could send the stock scurrying back down to February levels.
My free advice: Keep your eye on iPhone unit sales, especially in China. See About those 3.2 million Verizon iPhone activations last quarter.
Below the fold: Our updated analysts spreadsheet, with estimates from 23 independent and 34 Wall Street analysts.
Trying to make a quick buck on Apple in a market this uncertain may be a fool's game
There's a lesson for the unwary investor in the chart at right, posted Monday by Paul Santos on Seeking Alpha. It shows what he calls a mid-morning "flash crash" in Apple (AAPL) -- a precipitous drop in the stock's share price with no apparent trigger except a sudden burst of selling.
The final minutes of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 6, 2012 8:08 AM ET
When Tim Cook's failure to announce a dividend was supposed to send it tumbling?
If you spent part of Thursday afternoon, as I did, monitoring the $AAPL tweets, you know that Apple's (AAPL) share price was supposed to go into free fall the moment traders found out that the company was not going to announce a dividend, buyback or stock split at its annual stockholders meeting.
Shares did begin to tumble at MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 24, 2012 6:18 PM ET
Something jammed its blood funnel into Apple's share price last week
"Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression."
So wrote Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi in his 2010 takedown of Goldman Sachs -- the article that famously described the 143-year-old banking house as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
Without ever actually accusing Goldman MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 18, 2012 7:18 AM ET
Something is amiss when Apple's price per earnings per trailing growth approaches zero
"I want to scream every time I see or hear another one of those ridiculous claims that Mr. Market doesn't understand Apple (AAPL), doesn't respect it, doesn't get it, etc." an investment analyst named Marc Gerstein wrote in an unusually condescending Seeking Alpha post last week. "The ones who don't get it are those who act as if reading MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 31, 2012 3:23 PM ET
Betting on a stock this volatile on a day like this is an exceedingly dangerous game
Trading in Apple (AAPL) was halted on July 19 last year, just before the company released its third quarter earnings report. When trading re-opened, the stock immediately jumped nearly $23 (6%). On October 18, when Apple released its fourth quarter earnings, the stock fell more than $33 (8%) in after-hours trading.
So as you can imagine, there's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 24, 2012 6:02 AM ET
Buying puts or calls just before the numbers come out is a fool's game
Apple (AAPL) is a company that tends to surprise Wall Street every time it reports its quarterly earnings, usually on the upside, occasionally on the down.
As a result, the stock often makes big moves the next day -- sometimes as much as 5% and 6%.
Given the power of stock options to leverage your investment dollars, you might MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 15, 2012 8:12 AM ET
Is someone seriously suggesting that the company has "jumped the shark"?
Another day, another dumb headline on Seeking Alpha.
This beauty, by one David Alton Clark -- "a conservative investor who regards Warren Buffett as his role model" -- choses the walkup to what's likely to be Apple's (AAPL) best quarterly report ever to compare the company to Happy Days' Fonzie in a leather jacket and water skiis leaping improbably over a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 6, 2012 8:28 AM ET
Of 350 funds tracked by Insider Monkey, 125 are long on Apple
Apple is a perennial favorite among hedge funds, and a recent survey of insiders and hedge fund managers suggest that it may be more popular than ever among the folks with the power to move the market up or down.
In a list of companies with recent insider trades posted on Seeking Alpha by Insider Monkey, a free (after registration) site MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2011 10:37 AM ET
The latest: Share price tracks sales growth, and AAPL hits $600 in 2013
Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty believes Apple's (AAPL) revenue most closely tracks how much it spends on new equipment (in MBA terms, CapEx ex-retail stores). Her chart looks like this:
By that formula, Apple's revenues will hit $183 billion by the end of fiscal 2012.
Asymco's Horace Dediu has drilled a little deeper into Apple's capital expenditures. He believes Apple's sales MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 8, 2011 9:17 AM ET
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