Since reporting lackluster earnings on Oct. 25, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has taken a beating. During the past two weeks, Apple stock has shed more than 6%, with losses accelerating in the wake of the company’s rather disappointing MacBook event last week.
Click to Enlarge But now is not the time to pile on the wounded iPhone maker. In fact, the weakness in AAPL stock could be a short-term buying opportunity.
One of the biggest reasons why lies with Apple’s technical backdrop.
Yes, shares are beaten down and approaching key support at $110. AAPL has even breached support at its 50-day moving average. But if you look at the chart, the past two times that Apple stock broke this trendline and neared oversold territory, buyers emerged in force — a veritable army of bargain hunters.
Meanwhile, the sentiment backdrop for AAPL stock remains firmly bullish.
According to Thomson/First Call, 41 of the 48 analysts following Apple rate shares a “buy” or better. What’s more, despite the negativity following earnings and the MacBook event, the 12-month consensus price target for AAPL has ticked higher to $130.61, indicating a rising bullish contingent within the brokerage community.
Options traders are also resiliently optimistic when it comes to Apple stock. The November/December put/call open interest ratio rests at 0.71, indicating a positive short-term bias. However, this ratio falls to 0.6 for the December series. Options traders may be looking for a potential Santa Claus rally for AAPL.
Keeping our focus on the December series, Apple options implieds are pricing in a potential move of about 3.7% for Apple stock through December expiration. This places the upper bound at about $116.69, while the lower bound lines near $108.31. That said, the $116 region is a significant hurdle for AAPL, with several trendlines currently in the area. A breakout here could create a bigger-than-expected move.
Meanwhile, support near $110 remains strong. AAPL stock shouldn’t stray too far from this mark.
Let’s look at a pair of trades to tackle Apple in its current environment.
2 Trades for Apple Stock
Call Spread: Bargain hunting is the main driver here for Apple stock. But if you add in the potential for a stock market rally following a favorable outcome in next week’s presidential election, the path of least resistance should be higher for AAPL. As such, traders looking to bet on a rally in Apple stock might want to consider a Dec $115/$120 bull call spread.
At last check, this spread was offered at $1.10, or $110 per pair of contracts.
Breakeven lies at $116.10. A maximum profit of $3.90, or $390 per pair of contracts, is possible if AAPL stock trades at or above $120 when December options expire.
Put Sell: There also is the possibility of a negative reaction in the stock market following next week’s election that could overwhelm bargain buying in Apple stock. Traders not willing to take the risk of an outright bullish play might want to consider a Dec $105 put sell position.
At last check, this put was bid at $1.17, or $117 per contract.
As always, the upside to this put sell strategy is that you keep the premium as long as Apple stock closes above $105 when December options expire. The downside is that if AAPL trades below $105 ahead of expiration, you could be assigned 100 shares for each sold put at a cost of $105 per share.
As of this writing, Joseph Hargett did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.