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What Drove Apple's Bounce Back Today

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Shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) are rebounding from last week's incredible 9% sell-off. At yesterday's lows, the stock was down by an additional 2% before recovering most of those losses throughout the day. Shares have jumped by about $16, or 3%.

There were a couple of storylines out today that may be giving the bulls some courage. What's driving today's daily Apple drama?

The Apple monitor
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a bullish note on Apple today. White is the analyst that tracks a basket of Apple suppliers that he refers to as the "Apple Monitor" that he uses as a leading indicator to try and get an idea of what Apple has in store.

This group of suppliers posted a sequential sales increase of 15% in November, which is well above the average 4% gain they've posted over the last seven years. With 80% of this quarter's sales expected to come from new products launched since September, that gain implies that Apple's building a lot of devices to move this holiday season.

In particular, Foxconn saw revenue soar by 28% in November. Apple represents 30% to 40% of Foxconn's business, so this jump can be tied back to increased unit builds for Apple. The Taiwanese company reported net revenue of $12.1 billion for November, which was a new record for Foxconn.

That bodes well for Apple, as Foxconn is one of the primary manufacturers of its gear.

LTE jump
With so much riding on the iPhone 5, investors are cheering about new data out of Strategy Analytics, which show that Apple's latest and greatest device has already gobbled up 26.7% of the global LTE device market. The iPhone 5 is Apple's first LTE-equipped iPhone and it was launched less than three months ago. A quick jump to over a quarter of the market is a strong sign of adoption, particularly in contrast to the continued perception that the device is in short supply (which it's not anymore).

That jump in LTE share has come at the expense of numerous Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android OEMs. As the top vendor, Samsung had the most to lose. Sammy saw its LTE share fall from 50.9% to "just" 40%, but retains its top dog status. LG saw its share shrink from 15% to 9.1%, while Google's Motorola subsidiary also gave up some ground from 15% to 6.7%.

Preparing for Chinese launch
Last night, China Unicom (NYSE: CHU  ) also announced that it had garnered over 300,000 preorders for the iPhone 5 ahead of the smartphone's launch in China on Friday. That's a healthy surge from the 100,000 preorders that it had accumulated just a few days prior. The carrier said that most customers were opting for the entry-level 16 GB model, and most orders were concentrated in Beijing.

China Unicom was Apple's first official iPhone carrier in the country, with China Telecom (NYSE: CHA  ) signing up earlier this year. China Telecom hasn't disclosed total figures, but its Beijing subsidiary was up to 5,000 preorders. The No. 2 and No. 3 carriers are both preparing to launch the iPhone 5 in Apple's hottest growth region.

What's bad for Microsoft is good for Apple
There were also reports that suggest Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is seeing weak sales of its new Surface tablet, which may be good news for Apple's iPad. The software giant's new device is garnering a minuscule percentage of web traffic, which implies that it's either not being purchased, or its being purchased and not used.

Apple's been pointing out lately how the iPad carries a disproportionately large share of web traffic (91%), higher than its unit market share, as an indication that people don't use competing tablets.

Recipe for a relief rally
With all the baseless pessimism surrounding Apple lately, a little bit of bullishness can spark a relief rally. The company's cheap valuation also reinforces the bounce, and the combination of all of these factors is what let Apple book some healthy gains today.

Chances are that Apple may be bottoming out as we speak, and that now's the time to buy. That's why investors should make sure to read up everything they can on the Mac maker by checking out our new Apple research service. Senior tech analyst Eric Bleeker and I lay out Apple's future in a handful of special reports. Get started by clicking here.

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