The Apple store has put up the "We'll be back soon" banner that's the final warning before master marketer slash CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage to unveil new products, as he will momentarily. Various rumor sites indicate he's likely to fill in the fourth and final box of the company's transition to Intel chips by announcing high-end desktop PCs to go along with the Intel-powered iMac, Macbook and Macbook Pro. Maybe there's also a new ipod or a spreadsheet, who can say.
What stock investors would like to see is some levitation of Apple's shares, trading today around $68 or $69 down from a high over $85 in January though up from recent lows almost touching $50. The stock has been beat up over options dating woes, fears of the coming MSFT Zune onslaught and slowing ipod sales growth.
But I saw recently that Harry Lange, manager of the Fidelity Magellan fund, bought almost 2 million shares of Apple this year. That ought to be a good sign of value, as Lange has long been top notch timing tech names. Then again, his colleague, Will Danoff, dumped almost 1 million shares. Still the paper twiddling Danoff kept a big position as of 3/31, as did the folks at Calamos Growth Fund and Scott Schoelzel over at Janus. That's some pretty smart money betting on more magic from Jobs.
Updated at the close: Investors were underwhelmed with Master Jobs on this day. Anticipation had AAPL shares as high as $69.60 as Jobs started talking but after he trotted out the obvious Mac Pro desktop computer, discussed some dull features of an OS upgrade and had no "one more thing" to unveil, the shares tanked and finished at $67.21.
History has shown, of course, that the market's immediate reaction to Apple product introductions is not to be trusted. Set the way back machine to October 23, 2001 and you'll discover that Apple lost about 5% on the day the ipod was introduced. The closing price that day? A split-adjusted $9.07.