Seeking Alpha

Marc Gerstein

 
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  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    I have to say this whole fanboy concept is amusing . . . correction: hysterically funny.

    If one really loves a stock above and beyond or in some cases in spite of objective security-analysis considerations, it's OK to just say it. I felt that way about Green Mountain during its hyper growth period. I feel that way about Amazon (although not enough so to be long the stock at the moment). Ditto SodaStream. And back when I covered Playboy for Value Line, you can dam well bet I was about as much of a fanboy as anybody can be -- the one on one meeting with Christie Heffner and the tour (including the studio) really did the trick, which is just as well because the fundamentals stunk. And outside of stocks, I'm a fan of the NY Jets . . . and that hasn't been easy lately.

    I think many, perhaps most or even all, participants in this and other Apple discussions would benefit by reading "What Investors Really Want" by Meir Statman. I haven't tackled the book yet, but I did see a presentation based on the book by the author a few months ago, and it was really terrific, and from my skimming of the book (actually, the Kindle edition I downloaded while listening to the presentation), it looks like a nice read in the area of behavioral finance, a topic that I think deserves much more attention than it gets. But the field does legitimize the notion of investors not always just going by the book. (Back when I was at Value Line, I'd sometimes tweak mangers by suggesting we were in the entertainment business rather than finance; people hunted for stocks because they loved doing it.) There's nothing wrong with this. It's fun. We all do it.

    To anyone who is offended by the fanboy label ( don't know enough about any individual poster here to suggest who is or who isn't a fanboy, but I'll go out on a limb and assume those who are bothered by the appellation, those for whom it is hit a sore spot, are fanboys), you need to stop complaining and look into yourself (and, perhaps, take a look at that book), and own . . . and enjoy . . . the label.
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    "Ommmmmmmmm..... Merde ! Actually, I prefer the more materialist approach of the IYENGA group "

    It doesn't seem to be helping you much. (By the way, I presume you mean Iyengar. )
    Jan 27, 2012. 11:17 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    Tell it to the folks at the Genius Bar.
    Jan 27, 2012. 10:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    Actually, I find your comment amusing . . . Your choice of user name is what's sad, not for me but for you and any others who might now or in the future have a stake in financial decisions you make.

    As to the label "fanboy," it is what it is. Read the tone of comments on pretty-much any Apple article (and perhaps AMZN article, populated by reverse-fanboys, and then compare them to the general demeanor of discussion on other stocks. I think the facts speak for themselves.
    Jan 27, 2012. 10:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    "I'll let you know in ten years. "

    I look forward to your assessment. I'm sure you'll be amazed at how different it will be than it is now.

    As you go through this process, try to notice the differences between really being smarter (or dumber) than the market versus pursuing different goals.
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    "Apple cannot possibly hope to maintain its pricing structure if the market cannot perceive any meaningful value in its products. Consumers are not stupid. Apple has worked hard to deliver meaningful differences with appreciable values for buyers."

    Just as other luxury-goods manufacturers do.

    Luxury-goods pricing is typically related to objectively superior attributes; aesthetic and/or functional. But the questions are (i) whether the objectively identifiable aspects of superiority are consistent with the price difference, and (ii) the number of people who care about the things that make the luxury product better.

    By the way, I heartily recommend the 1/26/12 episode of the Big Bang Theory (CBS) to anyone who likes Apple, fanboy or otherwise. It is absolutely positively must-see TV; if your cable system can't give it to you on demand, buy it from iTunes. I don't want to post any spoilers, but I will tell you it addresses a luxury aspect of an Apple product.
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    "I have never had any problem signing on or creating accounts on a new device"

    Maybe you should work for Apple supervising and training the customer support staff!

    "so there must be some bug or something which appears in certain models or a certain sequence of events. "

    Actually, considering Apple's reputation for elegance, quality, etc., that state of affairs would be pretty scary.
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:16 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    Can I suggest you cut back on Apple and focus a bit more on Lululemon. The stock may stink, but I think you might benefit from doing some yoga.

    Calm down. Breathe deep. Ommmmmmm....
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget The Value Angle, Apple Is A Pure Growth Play [View article]
    "I guess what I'm curious to know is how having an unstable investor base -- investors consistently jumping in and out of the stock for profit taking -- affects stock price/growth, compared to having a stable investor base? "

    I'm not sure you can characterize AAPL's shareholder base as being meaningfully different from those of other mega-caps. Dont' draw conclusions based on what you see from anonymous posters on internet message boards who may or may not actually believe the things they write.
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    Actually, I thought I was the one being condescending.
    :-)

    Seriously . . . one of the things that consistently amazes me is how quick people are to assume that when they and Mr. Market see things differently, it's Mr. Market who is wrong.

    I used to act that way, too, back in my rookie days. But the longer I've been doing this and the more stocks I've dealt with, the more I've come to realize that Mr. Market is not quite the dunce presumed by the cute Graham/Buffett allegory. And in fact, if anything, Mr. Market has been getting "smarter" over the years (that comes as information gets more widespread -- a lot of the Mr. Market folklore comes from the pre-electronic era, when the masses simply didn't know basic facts -- Graham never got to look up financials on Yahoo in less than a minute; Grham slogged it out and did it anyway, but Joe Average didn't), not enough to justify tossing everything except momentum and using just that, but enough that when something seems odd or off base to me, the first thing I do is hunt for what Mr. Market may be seeing that I'm missing.

    This isn't always easy, and sometimes it's downright hard. But I never trade against Mr. Market without first having reconsidered and critiqued my assumptions quite vigorously -- much more vigorously than any critique I wrote or posted on SA because when it comes to my money, I'm more interested in trying to get it right rather than to flatter myself. And most of the time, when I find that Mr. Market and I really do have different answers, the source isn't so much error in one place or another, as different goals or priorities (trading around guidance being a classic example; that sort of thing just doesn't interest me as I prefer to ride out that sort of turbulence -- although stckscreen123 added some interesting new datapoints that will likely inspire new research on my part, here).
    Jan 27, 2012. 09:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    "Mr. Market is not necessarily quoting a sound or silly price for a stock. Mr. Market's claim to fame, as Mr. Buffett has said, is that it provides liquidity. "

    Actually, in other parts of the Graham/Buffett allegory, Mr. Market tends to be characterized as manic depressive going from one wild extreme to another. It's cute and memorable, and Buffett does know how to put memorable phrases out there. But the longer I've been in this business, the more I've come to learn that one ought not get carried away by the cute aspects of the Mr. Market allegory and that in fat, "he" is often a lot more astute than many believe.
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    "From what i see, the most vocal folks don't have a profile, which would provide insight into the value of their comments. "

    Yes, the internet is a magnificent thing!
    :-)
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    It's Apple. that's the way it is.
    :-)
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    What part of this comment above did you not understand?

    "as indicated in the last sentence, this is unfinished business. I'm working on my next article, the one on the margin issue, and in the interest of getting that submitted to Seeking Alpha as quickly as possible -- later this evening or, more likely, tomorrow -- I'm going to hold off on responding to any comment at this time."
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mr. Market Is Not Undervaluing Apple [View article]
    "I don't think that you can look at sales without looking at the company's margins. Amazon, by its very nature, has much lower margins"

    That's really a different context. Actually, return on capital (a combination of margin and turnover) is the penultimate metric and Amazon in that regard amazon is fine.
    Jan 27, 2012. 01:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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