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With the Apple (AAPL) shareholder meeting coming up on the 23rd February and the potential for an iPad 3 release in early March, I thought that it would be interesting to briefly assess whether in the past there have been significant price changes before events such as this. Many site iPad 3 excitement and dividend announcement potential as reasons for the rally, but does past data suggest that buying Apple now would be beneficial?

I have included in the table below data from past shareholder events, as well as iPad 3 releases and the most recent iPhone releases. Each period is measured over 5 trading days, from the open of the first to the close of the fifth day (this is roughly the distance that we are away from the shareholder meeting).

Shareholder meetings OpenCloseChangePercentage Change
17th-23rd March 2011 $358.91$342.62-$16.29-4.54%
19th-25rd March 2010 $203.00$202.02-$0.98-0.48%
19th-25th March 2009 $93.45$91.21-$2.24-2.40%
iPad Announcements OpenCloseChangePercentage Change
24th February-2nd March 2011iPad 2$344.61$352.12$7.512.18%
22nd-27th January 2010iPad 1$206.78$207.95$1.170.57%
iPhone Announcements OpenCloseChangePercentage Change
28th September-4th October 2011iPhone 4S$400.01$372.50-$27.51-6.88%
8th-14th July 2010iPhone 4$262.58$252.81-$9.77-3.72%
2nd-8th June 2009iPhone 3GS$138.71$143.62$4.913.54%

Source: Finspreads Apple Stock Price Graph

The table shows that there are often fairly large movements before such events (4.54% fall before the last shareholder meeting for example) but Apple is a volatile stock so this is not necessarily uncommon. It is clearly an incredibly limited data set, but from the past it can be seen that the stock has trended down before recent shareholder meetings, up before iPad announcements, and both up and down before iPhone announcements.

There are clearly massive limitations of such a sample, and this data should not be in any way used as investment advice, but it does potentially disprove the theory that a shareholder meeting automatically causes prices to rise as investors "buy the rumor." It could easily be argued that this situation is different however, because of the mounting pressure on Apple to pay a dividend.

As ever, past data does not offer an obvious solution, but I hope you found these statistics informative.

Source: iPad 3 Is Coming: Reviewing Apple Price Changes Before Significant Events