THE APPLE INVESTOR: Is Apple Stock Price Being Illegally Manipulated?

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs

AAPL Down To End The Week 
Consumer prices rose as expected in April on higher food and energy prices and continued to exhibit little sign of a broader pick-up inflation. As such the markets are down in early trading. Shares of AAPL are off as well with the broader tech market. Upcoming catalysts include the WWDC starting June 6 (see below); iPad 2 supply stabilisation; the iPhone 5 launch this summer / fall; smartphone push into China and emerging markets; iTunes and other cloud initiatives; the continued evolution and adoption of Apple TV; and new platforms such as video, books / publishing and social (Ping). Shares of Apple trade at 11x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow(incl. long-term marketable securities).

Apple’s WWDC More Important Than Earnings, Stock Could Swing Either Way (Business Insider)
Goldman Sachs’ options specialists Katie Fogertey and John Marshall say a “straddle” bet is the way to trade into Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. The idea is that current volatility is low, but it turns out that the WWDC is actually a bigger deal for Apple stock than earnings typically is. The average move in the 5 days around the conference is +/-5.4%, whereas on earnings the typical move is +/-3%. It is basically a bet that the stock will either move up or down a lot.

Apple Could Face labour And Supply Shortages In Supply Chain (DigiTimes)
Sources in Apple’s supply chain have revealed that Foxconn is currently facing supply (such as power amplifiers and memory) and labour shortages that could delay shipments of both the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 during the second quarter. iPhone sales, which reached 18.6 million last quarter, are expected to surge past 20 million this quarter. That is, if Apple gets its parts. Read more at Business Insider.

The PC Market May Be Weak But It Might Not All Be Because Of The iPad (NPD)
A new survey from NPD claims that the iPad’s cannibalization of the PC market has slowed, suggesting that the recent decline in PC shipments can’ta all be blamed on the new device. The survey found that more recent purchasers of the iPad are less likely to have forgone a PC purchase than were the early adopters. It should be noted, however, that the group’s survey does not appear to take into account the recent launch of the iPad 2. That would be key considering it sold out for weeks.

Apple Sharing The Wealth Of Information To Get Publishers To Buy In (Forbes)
Over the past few weeks, there have been an influx of big name publishers to sign up for Apple’s semi-controversial in-app subscription system. Publishers responsible for the likes of Wired, Golf Digest, Vanity Fair, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Popular Mechanics. Want to know why? What was once an obstacle isn’t any more. Now users get prompted by a dialogue box asking if Apple can share some personal information with the publisher. And about 50% of users opt-in. Read about the 10 iPad magazines that are killing print.

Amazon Says “Stay Tuned” For iPad Killer (Cult Of Mac)
Amazon is preparing a tablet of their own to compete with the iPad. CEO Jeff Bezos said to “stay tuned” for forthcoming news about an Amazon-branded “multipurpose tablet device.” Recent leaks have had a tablet well into development with Quanta as the contract manufacturer producing the hardware for release later this year. Read more from Dan Frommer at Business Insider on how Amazon could become a huge tablet player.

Daily Trader: Is Apple Stock Being Illegally Manipulated? (Fortune)
Near the closing bell on Friday, April 29, traders who had purchased AAPL April 29 $350 calls were sitting pretty. The stock was trading around $353.50. Then, in an extraordinary burst of trading (exacerbated by the NASDAQ-100 re-balancing), more than 15 million shares changed hands and the stock dropped below the strike price just. The value of those calls disappeared like a puff of smoke. Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune believes that Apple’s share price is being manipulated. And no one seems to be doing anything about it.