Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Will The Bear or Bull Case Win Out In 2013

Eric Dutram: Always a popular stock, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), is once again in focus this week as the company’s shares hover around the $500/share mark. Shares of the giant actually fell below the key $500 level before jumping back higher in Monday trading, although this did signal the first time the stock traded below the mark since February of this year.

[Must Read: Apple: The 4 Stage Collapse Of Apple Shares]

Still, worries are starting to grow over the company in the near term as the stock is decidedly in bear market territory having lost more than a quarter of its value in the trailing three month period. Yet even with this decline, investors are up double digits from a year-to-date look, so it is very hard to get a good read on either the company or investor sentiment about the stock heading into 2013.

It is also downright impossible for most investors to separate their emotion about AAPL from the buying and selling decision with this company above all others. It is hard to think of a single stock that can fire up such passion so quickly—a look to any recent AAPL article’s comments section is a pretty good example of this—and one in which investors take such an emotional view no matter what is happening in the market.

[Related: Apple: Is The Triggered “Death Cross” To Blame For The Fall?]

What we do know about AAPL heading into 2013 is this:

  • Analysts have been slashing their price targets and shipment targets for key products
  • The forward PE is near 10 while the company has no debt, two pretty solid factors if you ask me.
  • The technicals don’t look favorable (at least to a tech novice like myself), and even if you disagree on the charts it is clearly in a bear market by any definition.
  • Strong iPhone 5 sales in China (2 million sold), suggests solid demand levels in the nation.
  • The iPad Mini is crushing sales expectations, but is this a good thing or a sign of cannibalization?

So do you think the bear case or the bull case will win out in 2013 for AAPL?

Personally, I think AAPL may have a bit more weakness to start the New Year but that it will probably end the year a bit higher. The stock is just too cheap given its expansion possibilities in emerging markets, and while margins may come down it could still have a chance to bounce back next year.

[Related: Why Apple Needs To Pay You Now?]

Related: iShares Dow Jones US Technology (NYSEARCA:IYW).

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Written By Eric Dutram From Zacks Investment Research 

In 1978, Len Zacks discovered the power of earnings estimates revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank, a peerless stock rating system whose Strong Buy recommendation has an average return of 26% per year.

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