Wrong Way

Ed Zabitsky: The 'Wrong Way' Corrigan of Apple analysts

December 4, 2012: 12:11 PM ET

One took off for California and landed in Ireland. The other has Apple headed to $270

Wrong Way Corrigan. Photo: Wikicommons

Corrigan with his jerry-built aircraft. Photo: Wikipedia

FORTUNE -- At a memorial for a departed colleague last week, a former Time Magazine top editor asked me a classic Time editor's question: Would Apple still be the world's most valuable company 25 years from now?

I mumbled something noncommittal about not being able to see over a 10-year horizon, but I was reminded of the exchange reading the note to clients issued Monday by ACI Research's Ed Zabitsky.

Every other Apple (AAPL) analyst on the Street has a price target in the $600 to $1,111 range (median: $755). Zabitsky is sticking with the $270 target he set last January and advising clients to borrow Apple shares on credit and sell them short.

That's assuming he still has any clients. Even with Apple's post-September decline, anybody who followed his advice in January -- or when he repeated it in April -- would have lost a fortune.

Still, the comparison to Douglas ("Wrong Way") Corrigan in the headline is a double-edged metaphor. The American aviator who claimed in 1938 that a navigational error sent him East when he meant to go West may have been deliberately attempting the transatlantic crossing he'd applied for -- and been denied -- permission to fly.

Perhaps Zabitsky, like that old Time editor, is thinking long term and anticipating where Apple might be 25 years from now.

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