Sell Apple; Buy Sprint

Includes: AAPL, S
by: Glen Bradford

This recommendation has nothing to do with Steve Jobs. That said, I have a feeling that there was a postponement on the latest iPhone because Apple heard that Steve was slated for the hereafter shortly after launch date. This has everything to do with valuations, perceptions and trends.

Trend 1: I will argue that this will be the first trend to break. Apple going up. Sprint going down.

Trend 2: Apple's markets are facing increasing competition from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and other device makers. Competition leads to lower prices. Journalists don't understand the deal Apple signed with Sprint. The price of the phones Sprint is buying from Apple will come down. This unforeseen trend will benefit Sprint and hurt Apple.

Trend 3: On a cash flow basis, Sprint is worth over 100% more. On a future cash flow basis, Apple's gross margins will get sliced as its profit margins get eroded due to competition. Sprint has been raking it away from a cash flow standpoint and reporting negative EPS for a few years now. There's nothing that I love more than a company that can be making cash and reporting losses. That's accounting at its finest.

Trend 4: The reversion to the mean. As of right now, everyone is overweight Apple, and in the meanwhile is being forced to liquidate their shares of Sprint. I am thinking that Apple will see this, cap its price, and Sprint will see this and put in a bottom. Apple has been historically crushing earnings, and Sprint put out a near miss and fell over 50% when my valuation criteria still leave intrinsic value for sprint somewhere around $6. If you want to "seek alpha," go short Apple and long Sprint.

For me, it's hard to value the future discounted cash flows of Apple, because I see competitors' products as clearly superior, and the marketing is catching up. Note that this entire article needs to be considered in the context that I believe that we are currently in a recession, that China is experiencing a crash similar to its "Great Leap Forward" -- which was a joke -- and Europe still is structured unsustainably. Put volatility to your advantage. Cash is king, but Sprint is just so darn cheap I had to buy some.

Disclosure: I am long S.