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Author: MDCigan Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 202962  
Subject: Re: John Gruber summarizes Qtrly. #s Date: 1/24/2013 11:26 PM
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You forgot to add the caveat that forward looking expectations can be absolutely ludicrous and when they're not exceeded, there is a segment of the "investing" world that soils its shorts in wild-eyed panic.

You are half right here. Yes, forward looking expectations can get out of hand to the upside, but the corollary to that is understanding when the stock price reflects those unrealistically high expectations. Apple nearly doubled from the beginning of 2012 to the Sep peak at $700. You can't judge the price reaction downward as "irrational" without also considering the doubling might have been slightly "irrational" to begin with. The stock price is simply reacting and resetting to new expectations which are lower. At some point...maybe already the stock price reflects too pessimistic expectations just as the $700 price reflected too optimistic ones. The thing that doesn't make sense and I've seen this over and over again across a number of stocks in my investing career is people always start with the presumption that any severe downward correction is just the "market being irrational".

I'm actually starting to get interested in Apple here myself so I think the market may be overreacting in pricing in too negative of expectations, but I think there is still some downside in the stock.

Congrats on the money you've made over the years. FWIW, I'd say that any multi-year holder of Apple sitting on massive gains occupying a big percentage of their wealth should look at the chart of Chicos (CHS) from 1998 to 2009 just to get a flavor of what is possible. I don't think that outcome for Apple is remotely probable, but I've been doing this long enough to know that the one decision stocks that people think will be big winners for all eternity sometimes stumble and come back to Earth. Anything in the market is possible.

If the market wants to value AAPL at about 40% discount to the S&P based on P/E, so be it, but I really wish someone would explain to me why AAPL's only valued at about 10 times earning when the current multiple for Amazon is 3,257. If AAPL had that valuation, the share price would be $143,796 (not too far under the price of a share of BRKA).

Maybe AMZN is ridiculously overvalued? Plus, I'd like to see what is in those earnings that contributes to the super high P/E. I'm wondering if there is some type of one-time extraordinary charge distorting the trailing 12 months earnings. I'm not sure what the right multiple difference should be, but there is a big difference in the nature of AMZN's earnings versus AAPL's. Just as one example, AMZN isn't dependent on product innovation and update cycles. They benefit from the broad move to increased e-commerce.

FWIW, to be clear, I have a hard time being negative on Apple here at $450 versus the $700 price where I wouldn't have touched it. The valuation, the balance sheet, the earnings prospects all appear attractive. That said, I know a really smart guy with a great stock-picking record who is bearish on Apple here. But that is what makes a market.
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