Telsa just got hit with some bad news last week… sales are apparently way down in Norway… which was a pretty hot area last quarter.

Investors freaked on Wednesday, not only stopping forward momentum, but reversing course and sending shares down double-digits.

Here’s the flaw I see with the news reporting:

Telsa isn’t demand constrained… they are production constrained… meaning, they have tons of demand… and are just trying to figure out how to dole cars to all the markets screaming for product around the world.

So if sales are “down” in Norway, they will be “up” somewhere else.  But the negative articles that came out last week didn’t contemplate that.

This reminds me of what happened many months ago when TSLA was hit by one or two people claiming their cars “automatically” caught fire… implying something awful and dangerous about the vehicles.

Despite the company clearly communicating the evidence in each case with the public (that the fires had nothing to do with the vehicles)… the vast majority of Tesla owners backing up the company saying it was the best car they have ever owned… and Consumer Reports reporting it as their best ranked car ever

…these negative news stories drove TSLA downward.  Who wants to buy a car that automatically catches fire?

TSLA was eventually cleared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration… well, not just cleared, but when the safety data was exposed, resoundingly applauded for having one of the safest cars on the road.  The artificial dive made the move upward even more impressive, with TSLA eventually hitting its high of $265.

The point of all of this is don’t just read the news – evaluate the news… every news story has the potential to be biased…

… and therefore a potentially wonderful trading opportunity.

P.S.  Regarding Tesla, I don’t worry about sales right now… I worry about production… if we heard news that something has happened on a production line — something that would stop them from meeting/exceeding their stated production levels — now THAT would be concerning.

Disclaimer:  I continue to be on an AAPL bandwagon… sorry in advance!

Just read a Motley Fool piece entitled, “Samsung’s CFO Said Something That Might Concern Apple Shareholders.

The article suggests that if Samsung is having mobile problems (particularly in emerging markets), maybe Apple could be, too?  That’s certainly a reasonable suggestion.

But, what the article doesn’t even contemplate is this:  Maybe Apple is gaining marketshare?

Wasn’t AAPL’s last quarter bolstered by some smart discounting in the emerging markets?  Maybe that good trend is continuing?

But from the bigger picture point-of-view:  Does anyone really think the mobile business is slowing down?

Like clothes and food and water, mobile is the one thing that everyone on the entire face of the planet really, truly might have to buy… and given the changing nature of technology, apparently buy over and over again.

Except, unlike clothes and food and water, which you can buy from literally about a zillion companies… it feels like you can only buy mobile from two places right now:  Apple and Samsung.

(Take a step back for a moment… that’s a pretty freakin’ amazing statement to make… no wonder Apple is the world’s most valuable company.)

So… when the CFO of Samsung says their quarter isn’t “look[ing] too good,” I kinda read that differently than Sam at The Motley Fool.  What this suggests to me is that AAPL’s upcoming quarter might not be as “throw away” as a lot of people think.  I believe AAPL has meandered downwards over the last few weeks exactly because of this type of erroneous thinking.

If Apple, indeed, pulls another rabbit out of its hat (like it did last quarter), that could set up another potential earnings pop… unless, of course, AAPL starts climbing in anticipation of that beforehand.

Either way, I think we’re higher by 5-10% after quarterly earnings than we are now ($91.98), especially after touching the $80′s last week.

We’ll see.

At the risk of becoming, “All Apple All The Time”… I will share with you the approach Daniel Sparks over at The Motley Fool just took evaluating AAPL:

As I attempted to make the doom-and-gloom case for Apple stock at $91.28, I kept running into walls.

So he threw it out to readers to chime in… here’s what I had to say:

 

I love the approach of this article, thank you.

I’m most worried about upcoming earnings.  Even though recent inventory checks seem bullish for the quarter, common sense tells me that people really may be waiting for the iPhone 6 (I am)… that’s gotta hurt on some level.

On a macro level, I’m worried about a war breaking out… or oil spiking to $140… or some such… which, of course, would spook the entire market.

I also worry that AAPL could shoot itself in the foot and make a dud product… Newton, anyone?  Specifically Apple could underpower the iPhone 6 relative to Android devices… they seem to do that… and at some point that will catch up with them.  I also think Apple made a user interface mistake taking away the “button” controls in iOS7… used to be easy to know what to tap… now it’s a bit more guesswork… the point is that Apple isn’t infallible and we may see things get more complex, not less… which could hurt adoption.

Finally, I worry about contrarian things… everybody really is jumping on the bandwagon… you know it’s bad when even an author has to resort to a bear challenge!

 

With all of that said, I can easily see — actually do see — the counters to all of these.

Fewer iPhone 5′s sold could just as easily mean even more iPhone 6′s will be sold.  In that contrarian way, a net positive.

When war breaks out, that reduces uncertainty… and generally speaking people look for a “flight to quality.”  Another net positive.  (Though, if oil misbehaves, that’s an entirely different story… that’s one to watch for the entire market.)

And Apple has already shown people a lot of iOS 8… and we know from the history of Apple laptops, Apple will figure out that smokin’ fast hardware will count in mobile, too.

More to the point:  AAPL has been in the penalty box for so long that the stock really has been depressed for years… if you normalize the terrific gains over the last year with the disappointing performance over the last few years, the chart kind of suggests Apple ends up where it should be… with the trajectory still aiming high and to the right.  Given I’m a big believer in the pendulum swinging too far in any direction, I don’t think we’re at “enough” yet… because even a mediocre iPhone 6 upgrade cycle will be staggering… and if you throw on an iWatch (personal health/info development platform), iTV (entertainment development platform), and maybe a massively-connected payment system and such…

… it’s just hard to see — given that Apple is one of the top brands and cash machines in the entire world — AAPL *crawling* into simple p/e parity with the rest of S&P as being crazy.

Just p/e parity alone represents about a 24% increase in stock price… or up to just under $115 a share.  For a company that arguably is the most relevant in its growing space, does $115 feel so far from where we are?  Not really.

Imagine what AAPL can be worth if actually gets a multiple it deserves… ?

Arg, I’m not sure I was very helpful to the bear case, sorry!

I haven’t been a fan of the iWatch.  Well, I mean, it’s not bad… I just didn’t see how it was going to move the needle.

Until now.

I had an epiphany.

It’s not a “watch”… duh… but a wearable computer… duh again.

My epiphany, though, was about why I would need a wearable computer:  Because I’m currently wearing pants without pockets… which is forcing me to actually carry my smart phone in my hand with me… and place it vulnerably on a table in a public place… to keep it in earshot because I need to hear an upcoming meeting reminder alert.

Bingo.

A wearable computer.  No more carrying in hand.  No more carrying bulgingly in a back pocket.  No more fishing it out of a purse.

Now I get it.  <smile>

A picture from the keynote at the World Wide Developers Conference… this doesn’t look like any iPhone Apple currently sells… and I haven’t seen a single report commenting on this new chassis… which was followed by a screen of a real iPhone 5S a few moments later.

Where are all the conspiracy theorists when you need them?! <smile>

WWDC

Hard not to get excited by all the Apple activity.  Very cool that one of the very oldest tech companies is still one of the most relevant.

Problem has been that Apple has been in the penalty box for the last few years… people have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the “next big thing.”

It’s Apple’s fault.  They’ve certainly teased the market… Tim Cook hasn’t been shy about saying how excited he is about R&D quarter after quarter after quarter.

Somehow it now feels a bit different.  Other key execs are now very publicly making rather bold statements:

Later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.”  

– Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and service, at a tech conference on Wednesday

I’m not crazy that he qualified the statement with “Later this year”… something almost everyone reporting on the statement seemed to gloss over.  But I still think it’s a significant statement… and significant that there is finally some kind of timeframe associated with whatever the heck they’ve been working on for the last four years since the introduction of their last great product the iPad.

What might he mean?

The easy guess is the iPhone 6.  That upgrade cycle — probably the biggest in smart phone history — could easily take Apple to $700.

“Pipeline” is usually plural, though, meaning we should see other announcements before year’s end.

Tons of rehashed speculation about these — a payment system (big), better iCloud (bigger), and an iWatch (not so big) – but my personal favorite is that Apple really, truly, finally releases an iOS development platform for “Everything Not Mobile”… also being referred to today as the “Internet of Things.”  i.e., your family big screen TV — decided not a mobile device — will be the center of your home’s universe, including, of course, completely reinventing the home entertainment experience.  (Here and here.  And you thought Apple was only building a cool-looking TV. <smile>)

That kind of pipeline could make AAPL skip all the way up to $833.

Normally I would say a 200 point jump from today’s closing of 633 is unrealistic in any kind of short or medium-term timeframe.

But, here’s the thing about any big stock split — like the very one they’re doing next week that will most likely take the stock to $90 — $90 to $119 doesn’t seem like such a big moveon the contrary, that seems rather normal for a company on the move…

… which is why I think AAPL will surprise everyone, even the most hardcore fanboys out there… and especially those folks that like the number “33.” <g>

 

P.S.  My $833 number isn’t just simple psychology… there’s math behind it, too.

Measured by P/E, Apple has famously been trading at about a third discount to the average S&P stock for a couple years now — even below its own perennial average — that penalty box mentioned above.

Which I have to say is weird.  Even at its low point, Apple continued to be the strongest brand – and one of the most phenomenal cash-generating machines — in the world.  Surely that merits at least “average”?  Average gets AAPL into the 800′s.

But maybe more important, because of its massively spectacular run between 2004 and 2012 — something like a 50x return (!) — everyone on the planet ended up owning AAPL for a long time.

Two things were apparent:  (1) If everyone already owned Apple, no one was left to buy Apple… as in bid up the price.  And (2) people were naturally itching to take profits.

Given those factors, you only need a spark to send a stock in the opposite direction.  That spark — JOLT — came as Android proved to be a real competitor… and when Apple’s “next big thing” always seemed to be “next quarter”… quarter after quarter after quarter.

The confluence of all of those things meant that people had enough and bailed… resulting in an almost 50% decline in stock price… a thorough thrashing in 2012 and 2013.

Which gets me to my point:  There are now lots of buyers on the sidelines… and the stock will doubtlessly run as everyone ventures back in.  The fact that the stock will be “cheaper” after the split means even the little guy will feel like they can participate, too.

Indeed, momentum is a powerful force… both in nature and on Wall Street.

Which leads me to an investment philosophy I have that applies to this situation:  The pendulum always swings too far.  As I believe Apple stock will in this situation, too.

I have nothing against billionaires, in particular Carlos Slim.  But recently I read this headline:

     Bill Gates reclaims top of Forbes billionaire list from Slim

I don’t know why, but this makes me feel better… it’s like all is normal with my world again.