Another Apple bull has jumped ship.
Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion Analytics, has been reducing his clients’ positions in Apple (AAPL) since October and has even advised them to cut exposure to the tech giant by at least a third in their personal portfolios. The stock has reversed its downward slide in the past week but is still off about 14% in three months and nearly 20% from its September high. In comparison, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) is down 3.3% in three months and the S&P 500 Index (GSPC) is flat.
Ritholtz says the stock’s precipitous fall has less to do with the recent complaints surrounding Apple products — specifically its highly criticized Maps app, which forced Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize to consumers and investors in an open letter on the company’s Web site — and more to do with dismal third-quarter earnings. Many investors and hedge funds are trying to lock in gains before the end of the year, and Apple has been one of the best-performing stocks over the past 12 months. (Apple is still up more than 40% since January)
Even though Ritholtz has turned bearish on Apple, arguing that the stock could tumble below $500 a share, he says the stock is still “incredibly reasonably priced.” But “don’t buy it because you’re looking for a 50% or 75% appreciation,” Ritholtz notes. Apple may be going through a rough patch, but its products are still superior, especially in the smartphone space, he adds.