I can, but first we have to deal with the next level of support, which is 74-ish. What really makes me a believer is how easily we broke through 85 yesterday. You know, 85 represents both long-term support, and an important psychological level. That’s because Apple (AAPL) hasn’t been below 85 since January 9th of 2007, the day Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world. This Bear has essentially negated the iPhone premium. I want to make clear that these are the words of Rex Crum of Market Watch, not mine. Man, you’ve got to love that name!
How can this be? Apple’s fundamentals are strong, right? Yes they are. But that has absolutely no bearing here. Apple is simply falling with the rest of the market, and so long as there’s no confidence in the market, it will continue to fall. I suppose you could argue that Apple has taken more than its fair share, but trying to argue that point with the market is an argument you can’t win. You can only accept it for what it is.
The fact that we lost the 2002 Bear lows in the S&P today was a very telling event. I don’t think any technical analysts saw that coming so soon, and with such force. The downside volume was incredible, and decliners led advancers by a toxic 8 to 1! Sure, I was convinced we would soon test 775, and thought it would represent a significant challenge to the Bears before ultimately breaking through. But today (Thursday Nov 20) the Bears cut through that level like a hot knife through butter. That’s a message you’ve got to respect.
And what is that message? Are we talking recession, or are we on the brink of depression? I was watching Larry Kudlow last night and they were bantering the idea about, but universally his panel said no depression. Of course you have to realize that Larry is the ultimate Perma-Bull. And if he’s even entertaining the question, then that’s got to make you think that the possibility is there. The fact of the matter is that to date, the S&P has lost more value than any other year since its inception, other than 1931, the beginning of the Great Depression.
The only way we’re going to avoid the depression scenario is for investors to regain confidence in the markets. And the only way that’s going to happen is if the Bulls retake 775, and hold it long enough for a strong base to be developed. How is this going to happen? Good question. What we need is good news, and lots of it. It doesn’t have to be transformational, all it has to do is give investors some confidence in what to expect over the coming months. Perhaps a solid and decisive bailout plan for both the financial markets and the auto industry is the ticket.
Some have suggested that the incoming Obama administration announce its intentions, or at the very least work with a transitionary plan with the Bush administration. But that could have the effect of diminishing the Obama administration’s effectiveness if the economy should significantly deteriorate before he actually takes office. And I don’t think they want to cozy up with Bush in any shape or form. It goes against all historical precedent and may incite a public relations nightmare.
Alright, so let’s assume there’s no good news coming and we can expect to continue down this path. What is the next level of support that we can expect in the market? Well, for the S&P it’s 664-666, that represents a period in 1996 when we had multiple tops, it also represents the 61.2% retracement from the top the market achieved before this Bear began in 2007. This is where I believe we’ll find a bottom, and I said as much in a podcast I produced last week called Going To Hell and Back, a reference to the 666 level.
If we fall to the 666 level on the S&P, then this would equate to the next level of support for AAPL which would be in the 62-64 range. Although I find the support in this area to be quite vague, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see the lows of 2006 provide the next and hopefully final levels of support at 57 and 53. I know these numbers sound crazy, but who would have thought Apple would have lost over 60% of its value since its all-time high of 202 just 11 months ago. Also, if you recall, not more than a couple months back, we had respected Apple analyst Gene Munster reiterating his price target for Apple of $250! So what’s crazier now, a 300% gain to hit Munster’s target, or a 25% decline to reach 60?
Stock position: Short AAPL.