Pop quiz: Name a once high-flying stock that has fallen harder than the Dow over the past 10 months? You guessed it: Apple (AAPL). Last December the stock peaked at $202 a share. Now it’s down more than half, hovering around $100, and at one point fell to $85 a share.
Now, we’re not alone in our belief that Steve Jobs’ latest product announcements have little shot at juicing Apple stock. Even someone who calls Apple the best company in America says the stock is broken.
Dedicated readers of Fast Company may recall last December’s cover story, “All Eyes on Apple: Will the gray light of January cool the world’s hottest company?” It came out when Apple could do no wrong, its stock topping out at more than $200 a share, the company’s market cap north of $160 billion. We received scads of hate email for it. Apple fan boys posted vicious commentary on blogs and in comment threads. And it wasn’t just the usual Apple flotsam and jetsam that attacked us. Motley Fool called us fools. Jim Goldman, tech reporter for CNBC, jumped all over us on air and on his blog. Twice.
Then again, Goldman posted this gushing schoolgirl crush piece after interviewing Steve Jobs after his MacWorld keynote earlier this year–when Apple stock first began showing signs of a decline. Goldman called meeting Jobs the “highlight” of his day. Jobs “had his cup of tea, seemed to be a little under the weather, but even a cold couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm for today’s announcements. He was engaging, direct, honest, easy-going. For me, it was a great interview.”
Goldman predicted that the disaster that has been AppleTV “has a real shot. The power of technology. The power of Apple and Steve Jobs.” Sounds like an advertisement. Alas, it’s completely wrong. As was Goldman’s conclusion: “In these waves of uncertainty, fundamentally, Apple looks like a long-term island in a sea of short-term waves of uncertainty.”
So you can excuse our interest in Goldman’s recent Apple prediction that the company would go “nuclear” with a sub-$1,000 notebook that “stands to have an explosive impact on the PC market.” One problem: Apple announced no such thing. The new MacBook goes for $1300. The only Apple laptop you can get for under $1,000 is that small, white MacBook, the Chevy Vega of the Apple computer line.
Since MacWorld, the stock has dipped about a hundred bucks and Apple has out performed the market in only one key respect: It has fallen faster and harder than the Dow. We doubt you’ll see a major turnaround any time soon, despite anything Goldman says or utters on air. Just because he wears a suit to work doesn’t mean he’s right. Look at his track record.