Apple Stock Has Been Underperforming The S&P 500 But Is A Rally Coming?

Apple Stock Has Been Underperforming The S&P 500 But Is A Rally Coming?
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Apple stock has trailed the S&P 500 this year so far as investors have been concerned about weak iPhone sales. Most analysts continue to see its weakness as being unjustified, as their Pollyanna-esque view of the iPhone maker just won’t quit. But will 2017 be any better for Apple or its stock? Most analysts are convinced that it will be, despite the growing number of reports that the company will release a mere iterative update—the iPhone 7s instead of the iPhone 8—next year.

If Apple does this, it will be a huge disappointment for fans and Wall Street alike. Fans expect something big for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, while analysts have been reassuring investors that 2017 will bring an “iPhone 8 supercycle” that’s sure to boost Apple stock.

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Why Apple stock is like Jason Bourne

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White, a perennial bull when it comes to Apple stock, called the stock “one of the most underappreciated stocks in the world.” Yes, he wrote “the world” in his Dec. 9 update on his Apple Monitor. He called the iPhone maker’s valuation “dispirited” at nine times ex-cash and pointed to the “never ending waterfall of ‘gloom and doom’ media reports.”

He also compared Apple stock to Jason Bourne of The Bourne Identity film series. He called Apple bears in the media “a growing list of adversaries that we liken (i.e., metaphorically speaking) to Jason Bourne’s ensemble of hard-charging assassins that never give up the chase but are constantly one step behind.

And yet, negative signs from the Apple Monitor

White said November sales in his Apple Monitor (which includes some of the company’s major suppliers) declined 5% month over month in November, missing the average increase of 7% over the last 11 years. He also reported that this year’s decline is roughly in line with the 6% decline recorded in November 2015.

White estimates that fourth quarter iPhone sales will grow by about 8% quarter over quarter, based on the November sales and an average performance this month. He reports that the average increase over the last 11 years is 19% quarter over quarter. Last year’s fourth quarter saw sales tick upward 7% quarter over quarter.

Is Apple stock poised for a rally in 2017?

Evercore ISI analyst Rich Ross told CNBC‘s Trading Nation earlier this week that he likes the setup on Apple stock right now and is expecting a rally in 2017. He notes that the iPhone maker’s shares have not been doing as well as other “high fliers” in the Trump rally. However, he likes it on both a short-term and long-term basis.

CNBC explained that looking at a two-year history of Apple’s stock performance, it looks “constrained within the 50- and 200-day moving averages.” Based on that observation, Ross sees a “very nice rounded base of support” building up after a 30% decline. Looking all the way back to 2009, he observed a similar pattern in Apple’s stock chart between 2012 and 2014. As a result, he expects history to repeat itself, resulting in a rally in 2017.

Shares of Apple stock rose by as much as 1.82% to $114.16 during regular trading hours on Friday.

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