This is The Takeaway from today’s Morning Brief, which you can sign up to receive in your inbox every morning along with:
Apple (AAPL) has a technical problem.
The stock has plummeted over 6% in the last two days in its biggest back-to-back slide in 10 months. Apple has now lost about $200 billion in market capitalization since Monday, as Chinese officials are reportedly asking government employees to stop using the world’s most popular phone.
The move lower comes amid a shaky September for stocks and ahead of the iPhone 15 launch event slated for next Tuesday — when Apple fans will likely be treated to enhanced periscope zoom in its flagship Pro model, yet another new charging port (USB-C), and maybe even a new color or two.
But the technical issue facing Apple right now isn’t about the phones it makes or the services it sells. It’s the company’s stock chart.
Only one month ago, shares of the world’s most iconic stock did something brand new in the company’s four-decade history. Apple stock notched a record high — only to be followed by a nasty selloff, the speed of which had never been matched.
At the time, we noted that the weakness would likely persist at least a month based on historical precedent. Indeed, the stock mounted a valiant rally in the second half of August, but the drubbing over the last two days erased nearly all those gains, leaving the stock hovering near multi-month lows.
With the big iPhone event only days away, analysts have soured on the stock — but largely not because of the latest news from Beijing on iPhone crackdowns.
In a recent note to clients, JPMorgan managing director and sell-side tech trader Ron Adler reminded investors that Apple stock usually rallies leading up to its events, but then sells off.
Apple Stock Historical Returns by Month — 1981 to 2022
According to Yahoo Finance data going back to Apple’s IPO over four decades ago, the stock indeed typically sees a rise in July and August. But it then tends to decline in September, which was already one of the stock’s worst months long before the iPhone was launched.