Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares have taken a beating lately, but the news hasn't been all bad. Here's a look at the four brightest moments of this sustained bear attack.
Apple shares jumped 4% on Oct. 22, helpfully marked "1" in the preceding chart. This was a drastic swing back from several days of bearish action, and perhaps a few short-sellers were taking profits. It was also the day before a long-awaited Apple event, where the iPad Mini was to be unveiled. Investors boiled over with enthusiasm for the as-yet unseen product.
Three weeks later, Apple saw its largest positive move of the entire post-peak period. The company had no particular news to share, but investors focused on optimistic news around federal budget talks. Anything that conserves the American consumer's disposable income would be good news for Apple, and the stock price had been driven down to a bargain-basement 25% discount from summer highs anyway. That was good enough for a massive 7.2% price jump, one beautiful Monday in November.
The stock closed out 2012 with a bang, jumping 4.4% on the year's final trading day. Barron's had just published an article on Apple's rock-bottom valuation, and multiple outlets speculated that much of the autumnal Apple sales must have been tax-gain moves ahead of the dreaded fiscal cliff. Sell in December to avoid higher tax rates in January -- it's a reverse version of the well-known January Effect.
The final bounce in our rundown came on another slow news day. Apple was gearing up for the next week's earnings report, and investors were hoping for fantastic holiday sales numbers. Fellow Fool Evan Niu, for one, chose this day to predict an earnings blowout. This story stock reacts to speculation like your molar nerves react to chewing on aluminum foil: There's another 4.2% jump, dated Jan. 16.
In short, Apple's swoon was balanced by deep-discount bargain hunting and some product-focused speculation. I think it's fair to say that none of these arguments had any staying power, as the facts kept shooting down optimistic rumors and the price kept sliding lower.
There is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. 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 your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.