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December 9, 2012

Why is Wall Street losing its appetite for Apple?

(Continued)

SAN FRANCISCO —

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Theory: The Fiscal Cliff Factor

Hypothesis: Many long-time Apple shareholders are selling stock to lock in gains at a lower tax rate.

Under laws set to expire Dec. 31, profits on stocks owned for at least a year are taxed at a 15 percent rate — much less than the rate earned income is taxed at.

The recent drop notwithstanding, Apple’s stock has still enjoyed an incredible run. It has more than quadrupled from about $120 per share since the iPhone’s release in June 2007. Even investors who bought Apple’s stock a year ago are still sitting on a gain of nearly 40 percent.

Gillis, though, points out that savvy investors probably wouldn’t be selling their Apple stock just to save some money on taxes if they truly believed the stock is destined to soar higher and make them even richer a year from now.

“Sometimes, stocks just take a breather,” he said. “And when you get to be as big as Apple, any shift in sentiment can have a material impact on the share price.”

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