Make a Tactical AAPL Long Trade

by Tyler Craig | March 5, 2013 9:24 am

Consider the evolution of the now dethroned king of tech — Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL[1]).

What began as a garden-variety pullback later turned into a severe correction … that eventually morphed into a bear market … that transformed to a veritable marathon of liquidation. From its peak just north of $700, the world’s favorite stock has now fallen $280 to a lowly $420 per share — a harrowing 40% haircut.

Thus far, bottom-picking AAPL has been a fruitless endeavor for all but the nimblest of traders. Amid the relentless slide, the stock has cobbled together three rebound attempts of note: a 17.5% rise in November, followed by twin 10% jumps in December and February. Clearly, AAPL has provided a few profitable opportunities for counter-trend trades. And with the stock now testing the $420 level, some contend another tactical setup is presenting itself.

A longer-term view of Apple reveals the $420 zone was a key resistance area halting the advance of AAPL multiple times in 2011. Once the stock was finally able to break above this level, it rocketed into the stratosphere. With Monday’s drop to $420, AAPL has returned to the scene of the crime. Only this time, $420 might end up being a support zone.

A second development elevating the potential for a short-term rebound in AAPL is Monday’s piercing of the lower Bollinger band. The Bollinger bands help identify extremes in price and when a stock might be ripe for mean reversion. Though the bands are far from infallible, they have successfully identified multiple past turning points in the stock.

Alongside Monday’s slide in AAPL, implied volatility lifted notably, increasing the cost of options across the board. For example, the 30-day implied volatility was up 4 points on the day, representing a climb of 11.8%.

To exploit a short-term snapback in the stock as well as the juiced-up options, you could sell the March 410-400 put spread for a $2.62 credit. Consider it a bet that AAPL will remain above $410 by March 15. The max reward is limited to the initial $2.62 credit, and the max risk is limited to $7.38. To reduce the the potential loss, consider closing the trade if AAPL falls beneath $410.

In timing the entry, I suggest waiting for some type of bullish reversal candle to form indicating the bounce has begun. Should the $420 zone fail to provide support, I’d bypass the trade altogether.

As of this writing, Tyler Craig did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

  1. AAPL:

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