The well-covered irony of the stock market is that investor interest tends to track stock market prices. When things are going well, they can only get better. When things are going badly, they can only get worse.
Are you more confident about your stock ownership now (near market highs) or in March 2009 at the market bottom?
The same is true on a micro basis. Stocks doing well get a lot of love from the financial press and investors. But then when the price falters, concerns that seemed distant start to seem very close.
Reality doesn't change as quickly as perception.
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) fall from $700 to the $400s is a recent example. The stock that was surely going to $1,000 is now a company that faces increased competition and margin compression in an industry that knocks off the King of the Hill on a frequent, if unpredictable, basis.
Putting aside emotions, the combination of a resurgent stock market and a stumbling Apple stock have Apple trading for a sizable discount to the market. The S&P 500 trades for 18.3 times trailing earnings. Apple's at just 10.6. Doing the math, Apple trades at more than a 40% discount to the market. If you want to make it seem more impressive, the market trades at more than a 70% premium to Apple.
Which brings us to the real-money account I manage for The Motley Fool. With stocks in general getting pricier, Apple's cheap price on a relative (and, more importantly, absolute) basis has me buying Apple stock for the third time, following buys in December and February.
I still agree with what I wrote in February and will point you to that for my exact rationale. But in short, I think Apple's brand position, corporate leadership and culture, and opportunities outweigh its threats given its current price and balance sheet strength.
You can follow along with my real-money account here.
Want more on Apple?
The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and you portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.