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Which…probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s nonetheless a form of “comfort” (however meaningless) to know where the inflection points are.
If only we had the slightest of clues how Apple will weather the Third Trial of Sentiment (initial weekend sales and maybe pre-order numbers, assuming Apple decides to release this info in the first place). This time around, we don’t have any. And neither does Wall Street, considering that AAPL ended the week about where it closed Monday.
Around this time last year, Apple reported sales of “over” 5M iPhone 5 models in the first weekend, and over 2M in the first weekend of sales in China three months later. Analyst estimates are all over the map for this year – 6M, 7.75M, take your pick.
Expectations are high in any case. In my humble opinion, news from Apple on Monday could fall into one of three categories:
(1) Apple made “enough” iPhones (including 5S) to address the demand spike, and reports a number in the 7.5-8M range or better, maybe adding in some commentary on pre-orders yet to be filled if they feel the need.
(2) Apple didn’t make enough iPhones to meet demand (which is clear from the 5S, based on shipping times) and reports actual sales numbers with additional pre-order numbers and context. If Apple goes this route it’d be hard to see how they don’t explain the “shortfall” vs. the 7M “baseline” in 2012.
(3) Apple says nothing, except maybe something about “incredible demand” and “we’ll try to meet it as soon as possible”. Which would inevitably raise the questions of whether Apple is having immense trouble ramping up the 5S, and whether overall demand is actually lower than last year. Now that would be a fun scenario for AAPL bulls (currently including myself), wouldn’t it?
Anyway…talk about something that no one outside of Apple could even hope to predict, or maybe even react to given the incredibly “disconnected” way AAPL’s been trading recently. I’m sure some extra-savvy/extra-brave traders have placed bets in anticipation of Monday – but even they must feel it’s a coin toss on some level, I’d imagine.
Quick look at the hourly/daily charts.
– It kinda, sorta looked like an inverse head and shoulders pattern over the past week and a half, but then Friday happened, with AAPL just not able to hold onto most of its gains for the week. The instaneous read looks somewhat bearish (MACD-h crossed over negative, for example), and yet there were also some external factors that may have played a role, such as major index portfolio rebalancing near the end of the trading session and markets continuing to process the “no taper for now” news.
– And it’s not like AAPL wasn’t “due” for a break, cascade from Sep. 10 aside. It bounced 30 points in three days from the 447 intraday low, and it did so with two gap-up days in the middle of a micro downtrend move. That’s not a recipe for sustainable bullish price action, at least not for AAPL these days..
– AAPL at least trying to regain the parallel descending channel was nice to see, but it didn’t last for long. At some point, the descending channel loses relevance.
– AAPL did manage to move back above the SMA-200 and SMA-100, though it couldn’t hold the SMA-50.
– That’s a pretty ugly bearish engulfing candle.
– AAPL bounced, weakly, off the 38.2% Fibonacci retrace level (of the intermediate uptrend).
– Semi-parallels between the last two weeks or so of trading and mid-January-to-February reappear.
– Obviously, Monday is shaping up to be the difference-maker. The biggest surprise in my opinion would be AAPL not reacting much at all.