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The Simple Version Of The $APPL Story, And How To Trade It

|Includes: Appell Petroleum Corp. (APPL)

$OTC:APPL earns its premium margins by producing new cutting edge products that offset the inevitable commoditization of consumer tech. Without new high-margin products Apple's sales collapse back to its core customer base (its ecosystem of loyal customers) -- which is insufficient to sustain current profits, let alone growth.

Let's review Apple's product roster.

(1) Phones: their competitive edge is almost gone. If the telephone companies substantially reduced their subsidies -- so that people had to pay a large fraction of the iPhone's cost -- probably either the iPhone's market share would collapse OR Apple would reduce its price.

(2) Tablets: a mature product (I'm astonished at how quickly sales peaked).

(3) The App Store and iTunes have potential (and strategic value), but are too small to affect Apple's bottom line.

(4) The Watch: a flop. Great design, but a low value/price ratio. Much like the Segway PT.

(5) Apple Pay, iTV, CarPlay: their stories lie in the future. We can only guess at their timing and odds of success. Only the most hopeful will factor these into Apple's valuation.

As with most companies, this is today's picture, and will change. But these factors change slowly. Microscopic analysis of Apple is unlikely to produce actionable insights.

$APPL should be traded primarily on its valuation vs. your estimate of the potential in its pipeline. That makes it a boom-bust stock, ideal for long-term fundamental stock pickers. Now its pipeline is bare. Stock buybacks provide only temporary support. Watch out for a valuation crash.

For a more detailed analysis of these dynamics see "Apple Could Be in a Heap of Trouble" by Andrew Zatlin, 5 November 2015. It reads just as well today.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.