October 18, 2006

I Bet Wrong On AAPL, Again

This afternoon, Apple announced blowout numbers, including profits of $546 million on 1.6 million Macs sold (1 million portables) and nearly 9 million iPods in the just-concluded quarter. As a result, the stock is up more than five percent after hours, to $79 a share, and I'm not benefitting, as I sold all of my AAPL shares at a measly $72.87 a week ago Wednesday.

I have followed Apple Computer stock closely for the better part of a decade, and started investing with a measly 25-share pickup in 1999. Though not always invested in AAPL, it's always been on my watch list. I thought I had the stock figured out. In 2005, along with my Google (GOOG) stock, I had made a good profit, but the heady times where I could expect a 2-3x improvement are long behind us. As a result, I've bought and sold the stock frequently, hoping to cash in by timing the dips and the peaks.

In the last two weeks, with CEOs losing their jobs over accounting stock options issues, I believed that Apple was still at risk for yet more bad news. I thought that even if they had a strong quarter, the uncertainty and potential restatement of previous quarters would be a drag on the stock. Beyond that, anyone who watches AAPL closely knows that even the slightest hint of weakness can cause a tidal wave of financial negativity. With a product transition to Intel processors, and the occasional analyst note regarding slowing iPod sales, I thought I was the smart one by selling my stock for a profit and getting out below $73. Maybe a decrease after earnings would get me a chance to buy in again in the mid to high 60s?

Clearly, I was wrong. Again. And now, while my money sits in cash at eTrade, those who kept the faith and tried not to game the stock are reaping the rewards. I still love my Macs, but I'd love them even more if I wasn't such an idiot investor.

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