I’m as tired as you are of watching AAPL flail around, well shy thus far of a 168.33 target first aired here a while back. The target is still valid and is an important one, having taken more than four years to mature. If AAPL is about to make a major top at that price as we’ve been expecting, then the bull market itself is close to a major top. I have expressed varying degrees of confidence in the target over the past few weeks, but lest you think me imprecise — or, heaven forbid, confused — today’s chart frames the question of whether AAPL will reach 168.33 in starkly empirical terms. Specifically, buyers will signal their eagerness for the (final?) ascent if they can pop the stock this week above the red line, a midpoint Hidden Pivot at 162.80. This is a relatively minor pattern, but it will give us a firm and precise handle on the strength of price movement within the stock’s typical daily range. Alternatively, a breakdown early in the week beneath the point C low at 157.91 would likely subject us to more tedium frustration, if not any particular certitude that the stock is verging on collapse.
Its balky performance of late can probably be attributed to the release of a $1000 iPhone. The hype attending this event, especially where it concerns the phone’s facial recognition software, makes clear that Apple is no longer the innovator it was under Steve Jobs. Some might even say they are clueless, unable to imagine the next big thing, let alone manufacture and sell it at a reasonable price. AAPL will hold no particular advantage if it enters the car business or makes televisions, and it’s quite possible its ‘brand’ will suffer in a comparison to that of Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Netflix. Nor will its cult of buyers necessarily be willing to pay exorbitant prices just to own a iTV or an iCar. Also, the inevitable recession will put particular pressure on companies with a premium pricing strategy, of which AAPL is the most egregious example. All of which could be cited as possible reasons why AAPL is at, or very near, an important top. If the stock continues higher anyway, it will be because the repatriation of some or all of the $250 billion cash surplus they hold overseas has gone into the purchase of their own shares. I would have to concede at that point that Dow 30,000 would be a foregone conclusion. ________ UPDATE (Sep 20, 10:38 a.m. EDT): The stock is getting schmeissed today, down 2.71 and trading around 156. It would take just a little more selling today, exceeding 154.63 to the downside, to create a powerful bearish impulse leg on the hourly chart.