ThinkEquity analyst: Apple sell-off due to ‘inexperienced traders,’ nothing new in options story

“Investors expressed some concerns Thursday regarding the latest reports about options grants made to Apple Computer’s enigmatic chief executive officer Steve Jobs,” Paul R. La Monica reports for CNNMoney.

La Monica reports, “Despite the fact that Jobs’ name has surfaced more prominently in the most recent accounts of Apple’s options problems, Wall Street analysts largely shrugged off the news and said that it’s highly unlikely that Jobs would be forced to leave Apple. ‘Any time a CEO is at risk of being, for lack of a better word, forcibly removed, then investors should be concerned. But do I believe that Steve Jobs’ job is at risk? That’s an unequivocal no,’ said Jonathan Hoopes, an analyst with ThinkEquity Partners.”

“Hoopes said he did not think that there was much in the way of significant new disclosures about Apple in the past few days and blamed the sell-off on the inexperienced traders working the holiday week,” La Monica reports. “He added that since the company has previously announced that it is investigating the matter and is planning on restating results, investors shouldn’t fear any major bombshells.”

La Monica reports, “‘Is there anything new here? I don’t think so. Are people more aware of it today? Sure. But there is limited liquidity in the markets due to the holidays,’ Hoopes said. ‘You got a Christmas present to buy the stock yesterday and if it’s down again today, you have another Christmas present.'”

Full article here.
The Chicken Littles sure do leave a lot of cash lying around, don’t they?

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  1. The future of Apple and the hope for computer users worldwide is OSX. OSX is the backbone of Apple and therefore aapl. If the iphone doesn’t exist, if Steve Jobs goes to jail for fifty years, OSX is still there, taking market share from MS, and growing aapl. If we lose sight of the power of OSX, then every little event will be over blown, seem more important than what it really is, and cause useless talk and speculation. OSX is the engine that pulls the train of long-term aapl gains.

  2. First, no one really knows all of the facts at this point. We will learn more tomorrow after the close. Second, the company interpretation of facts and liability is not necessarily identical to the regulators. Generally, the company spin is slanted and the perspective is in favor of management. Third, the regulators can be tenacious and even punitive. They love to make examples and take down icons. Fourth, they are unlikely to stop at simply the CFO and legal counsel. Fifth, these investigations take enormous amounts of management time. SJ is likely spending over half his time now on regulatory and legal issues. Sixth, entrapment is a serious issue: Martha Stewart lost due to lying not insider trading. Finally, if recent reports that options were issued to SJ without Board approval and then records were falsified to indicate the Board did approve are true, then this is a very serious matter even if the options were subsequently cancelled. Key question: Would this not be fraud and how could SJ not have been aware? My key point: this could be a potentially serious issue involving both the SEC and the Justice Department. They are looking to target high profile examples. I would take this matter very seriously. As a stockholder, I am concerned the regulators will choose the wrong target and seriously damage the company as a consequence.

  3. Regulators are not going to target the wrong people in any case where the economy is a factor. The market is high, they aren’t going to do anything to screw that up. Money is important, and since no money was gained by this in action then there is nothing important to this option business. You are correct Martha lied. All the government wanted was for her to tell the truth. As long as Apple and whoever the poeple are in question then all is fine. A little Tax will result and some other fines and fees , slap on the wrist and thats that. Dell is in serious trouble because they are hiding margins by moving cash.

    MDN work “Thinking” as in ” I am thinking of selling DELL short.”

  4. It’s my fault. The stock fell because I finally gave in and bough another chunk of Apple stock at 92 just days before It dropped more than ten dollars. That’s how my luck runs with stocks. Just sucks.

    I hope Macworld kicks ass and gets it back up there.

  5. When institutional analysts start telling you not to worry, it’s time ot start worrying.

    Apple has been a star on the stock market scene. These guys have literally hundreds of millions of dollars sunk into APPL. And since Jobs IS Apple, anything that goes bad for him WILL impact the stock price. It happened when they thought he was going to die, and it will again if it looks like he’s going to pay some sort of price (whether it be a massive fine, resignation, or even Martha Stewart-style jail time).

    So here’s what to look out for: If the analysts continue saying such things as ‘only amateur investors are being spooked by this and selling’, watch to see if the holdings of APPL by the big firms drop. If the stock price tends to stay in a static-to-declining range (going up occasionally, but otherwise not gaining for very long), then you are seeing the beginning of the rats leaving the sinking ship. These guys know before any of us what’s going to go down, and the last thing they want is a general panic to rob them of their profits (to hell with yours), so they will manage the PR in this way until they’ve gotten all they can before the situation inevitably collapses.

    You’ve been warned. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool mad” style=”border:0;” />

  6. “But there is limited liquidity in the markets due to the holidays”

    Yet Apple had some of it’s highest trading days of the year, with 13% of the company’s public float changing hands in two days this week.

    So it’s clear that a lot of people have lost the faith. But for every seller there’s a buyer.

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