Time to Harvest Apple

 | Jan 24, 2013 | 12:33 PM EST  | Comments
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The recent action in Apple (AAPL) is a very good illustration of something I wrote about in my book, Invest Like a Shark. All stocks have just a limited amount of time in which they enjoy hyper growth. The run might last a decade or just weeks but, eventually, the leading stocks will became mundane performers that produce just average returns at best.

It isn't hard to find good examples. For instance, Microsoft (MSFT) ran from 1987 to 1999. Coca-Cola (KO) had its huge move 1984 to 1998. Since then, neither stock has ever been able to recover the highs they hit many years ago.

If you bought and held those stocks during the hyper growth years, you did extremely well. However, if you failed to recognize when that period was over, you have had abysmal results. Those stocks might still trend up at times -- and there will always be the mutual fund managers who will remain attached to them -- but their stories will never be what it once were.

I suspect that AAPL is now at the stage where it is starting to make this transition. It no longer is going to be the shining star it once was. It may perform well going forward and have some periods of excitement, but its near decade of phenomenal growth is likely coming to an end.

Many people have a hard time accepting this. It's not because it is a complex idea, but because they become emotionally attached to the stocks that have treated them so well for so long. It is difficult to turn your back on an old friend and face the harsh reality that the glory days may be over.

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