It's been a rough few months for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) investors. Not only have shares of the Mac maker become one of the cheapest stocks in the market, with 82% of companies within the S&P 500 fetching a higher earnings multiple, but now many companies with far worse competitive prospects have dramatically outperformed Apple over the past three months.
For example, Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA ) , Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN ) , Pandora Media (NYSE: P ) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) are all enjoying three-month gains of at least 41%, while Apple has lost about 25% of its value.
Zynga has been rallying on the hopes that it will see immense new opportunities in online gambling. The Nevada State Legislature recently passed a bill clearing the way for online poker, which also opens up the possibility of forming partnerships with other states. Zynga also announced plans to cut costs and consolidate offices.
Though a disappointing earnings release knocked Pandora down in early December, shares recouped those losses and then some. That's despite the possibility that Apple may be preparing to step directly into the online music streaming ring with a new radio service even before Pandora has been able to improve its cost structure. Even Google is reportedly preparing to launch a music streaming service.
Even though Groupon's business has been full of holes from the get go, investors are optimistic that the company can expand beyond its daily deals business and get into mobile payments. At least one analyst is now turning bullish, with Sterne Agee upgrading shares to a buy rating along with a $9 price target.
HP is the only one of these companies that directly competes with Apple, and is now jumping back into the consumer tablet market with a new low-end Android device. The company also just reported better-than-expected earnings and is finally selling its webOS platform years after it failed. I guess those events are reason enough for investor optimism.
You know it's gotten bad when companies with worse fundamentals are trouncing Apple in stock performance. Will Apple ever regain investor favor?
Scared by Apple's plunge? We have expert advice for you.
Emotions aside, Apple's growth story is far from over, and the company still has massive opportunities ahead. We've outlined them right here in The Motley Fool's premium Apple research service, and it may give you the courage to be greedy when others are fearful. If you're looking for some guidance on Apple's prospects, get started by clicking here.