Too many people care about this Apple number and it's starting to worry, or at least annoy, me.
It was the topic of discussion at two different dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. I heard it on the flight to San Francisco. I heard it at the hotel. I know that I can be a magnet for people who want to talk about stocks.
But it is a different story when I hear about "my Apple," as in, "How is my Apple going to do?"
This is why while I expect a fine quarter from Apple (AAPL), there might be an opportunity to buy the stock at a lower price simply because -- honestly -- people who say "my Apple" tend to mean, "My stock that I own and know nothing about, other than I like the products."
The ironic thing is that liking the products is a reasonable reason to own this stock, which sells below the average price of most stocks in the S&P 500.
But owning Apple for the last decade -- not buying it, trading it or selling it -- has been the most difficult thing to do. Because the actual short-term control of the stock depends on days like today -- where we either hear what we want about the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, iPhone 6 and iPads or we don't -- and if the people handicapping the company are disappointed in one or several of those lines, they will downgrade or disparage the stock.
Apple is an amazing company -- but it is still a company. That means some lines won't work out as they should. Maybe there isn't the availability of the watch that some were hoping. Maybe not enough people ordered it online. Maybe the watch will "seem" like a bust before it even rolls out.
Those are all concerns that have, at one time or another, shaken people out of the stock along the way. It's just a fact of life: There are analysts who follow the story who are in control short term and they have models that show certain results have to be gained before they will reiterate a Buy or raise numbers. If they don't reiterate a Buy and don't raise numbers, then this stock will go down tomorrow.
If the stock goes down, the people who asked me about "their" Apple from all walks of life will think that "their" Apple isn't doing well and will sell it.
And that's what I worry about -- a nuanced worry that some will, on their own, interpret as a "sell" signal ahead of the quarter.
That couldn't be further from the truth. I am simply pointing out that the analyst process isn't conducive to holding a great stock of a great company over the long term. It's not meant to do that. It's a process meant to make calls, and when it does, you often get faked out.
So beware of the process. Don't get faked out. Use it to your best opportunity.