The Candy Apple
Buy Low, Sell High
Buy low, sell high. That’s how you make money in the stock market. I did that recently, but I guess I did not sell high enough. It is not so hard to do the research to decide what is a good company to invest in, but it is very hard to know when to sell. The indicators are not so obvious, at least not to me.
I bought 200 shares of Apple three years ago, not that long after it fell $27 in one day. I believed it was a good company that had been undervalued. I bought the shares at $21, $18, and $16. The average was $18.69. I sat on them until a few months ago, when the price had crept up to the low $30s. I began thinking about when I would sell the shares and decided that I would do so when I had doubled my money. Allowing for fees, I chose $37.50 as my sell point.
I was determined not to wait too long and have the price drop again, as had happened to a friend. He bought Apple shares at $20 or so and watched them soar to $80. Rather than sell, he thought he would hang on until they hit $100.
It was a nice idea but too ambitious. Shortly after he made this decision came the 27-point crash, and he was soon back below what he’d paid for them. It wasn’t enough for him to quadruple his money. He wanted to quintuple it. As a result, he ended up making a profit but not a large one (he sold at around $30).
So, I learned from this. I picked my sell point and sold. Days later, I watched the stock price rise $5 in one day. As of this writing, it has risen $11 from where I sold it. A friend asked how much money that was, and I said it is irrelevant. It is irrelevant because it is pretend money. He insisted, and I said it was $2,200. I also told him to stop checking Apple’s share price.
I sold because I was concerned that Steve Jobs might be out of action for a while after his prostate treatment, and I thought the Street would punish Apple’s share price for that. I also am concerned that so much of Apple’s attention is now focused on iTunes and iPods, and how much less attention is paid to the computer side of the business. It’s way cool that Apple is making money on low-overhead items such as music, but I worry that the market share of desktops and laptops will continue to dwindle beyond salvation. Are there enough of us die-hards to keep the company going? Can the music and the digital music players keep the rest of it solvent?
These are legitimate questions for a stockholder to ask. The numbers look pretty good lately, but I still have a nagging suspicion that the news will not always be so good. I want to be reassured. I want to know what the market is so excited about, driving up the share price like this. Until I feel more secure about it, I will stay with ALCOA. Y’all let me know if AAPL dips down below $20. I would buy it again.
Also in This Series
- On Temptation · July 2010
- Beyond Pen Pals · July 2007
- Just Because We Can Do a Thing, Does Not Mean We Should Do a Thing · March 2006
- Google Tells Big Brother to Take a Hike · February 2006
- Wikipedia Is Not the Lovefest We Thought · January 2006
- Star Trek Gadgets Have Arrived · December 2005
- The Silver Screen Keeps Shrinking · October 2005
- It’s Just Business · July 2005
- Age Has Its Advantages · June 2005
- Complete Archive