Apple (AAPL) has spent the past few weeks in repose, but from a short-term trading perspective, the sleeping Cupertino giant looks likely to rouse from its brief slumber.
Apple closed at $635.85 yesterday, down 0.36%. That marks progress, in a twisted sense. At least it didn't go down more. After all, in less than a week, Apple has fallen off from $670, part of a veritable plunge from its all time high when it ticked past $705 just a few weeks ago.
The impetus for Apple's turnaround (and even saying that is funny, considering) is several fold.
First up, Hewlett Packard's (HPQ) taking hatchets to its forecasts and long-term sense viability puts Apple in an enviable spot. At this point, it is not hyperbole to imagine a competitive landscape with HP and, by extension, Dell (DELL), absent or in an even more reduced state.
Also, Google (GOOG) is, as The New York Times reported yesterday in an article titled "Widening Scrutiny of Google's Smartphone Patents," ensnared in a Federal Trade Commission investigation that has been gathering steam. Traders have been aware of the larger investigation into Google's search and advertising practices, but haven't fully discounted this, which, particularly harnessed to the Samsung flub, will help Apple.
Moreover, earnings season starts this week-and it will run the gamut from weak to bleak. Even Alcoa (AA), which reported slightly better earnings than expected, ended the day on a down note. As soon as they opened their mouths, the headlines ran like this: "Alcoa Cuts Global Demand Forecast, Blames China."
Expect more of the same this week, when everyone from railroads like to CSX (CSX) to financials like Wells Fargo (WFC) report. Even FedEx (FDX), which already cut their numbers to ribbons, will speak to analysts to unveil a cost cutting campaign, the last option of a desperate company looking to salvage their already reduced future.
In all the tumult, traders will seek out reliable earnings. Enter Apple.
Don't forget, too, that the grab bag of shin-kicking problems afflicting Apple's stock recently should fade. For one, any stock, even Apple, trying to forge past a new high in this market is going to have temporary trouble. The iPhone5 also charted a bad course in maps, but -- as in past troubles with antennas -- this is surmountable. Likewise for production issues in their famed/infamous Foxconn factory, which has caused supply problems (been there, done that) and worker unrest (ditto.)
We can also talk about this quarter's nearly 30% sales growth, that earnings will probably come in a rock skip from $9 a share, which fixes its valuation at a comically low level, or its mountain of cash, but that's probably besides the point.
In the end, Apple's stock price has danced off the lip of a cliff since late September…but its business has not. In that spread between stock market perception and the underlying reality stands opportunity.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.