Apple's Doomed? More Than One Person Thinks So
Group psychology also comes into play. While the individual long ultimately deserves praise or blame for his or her own decisions, we cannot ignore the impact of the group on the individual. What was once a set of loosely connected shareholders becomes a cult. See stocks like Sirius XM and Research In Motion if you do not believe me. RIMM permabulls sailed that ship, with defiance, all way to the bottom of Lake Ontario.
This is not to say there's any comparison to be made between a great company like Apple and a mediocre company like Sirius XM or a truly awful company like RIMM. A legitimate association does exist, however, between the behaviors of each firm's shareholders. Review the message boards and comment threads on articles over the past year that focus on SIRI and RIMM.
While AAPL supporters, by and large, remain civil and level-headed, slowly but surely, with a post here and a post there, they're devolving into that inane cult-like territory I thought that was trademarked by SIRI and RIMM bulls. When the case you make for staying long your stock sounds more like a deranged terrorist video, you really need to check yourself.
And I must stress ... if doom occurs, it is not impending. By no means. However, I have seen the process I describe take place. I have fallen victim to it in the past. With each victory, you become all the more certain that there's no way -- God willing -- you can be defeated. A little bit of loyalty, and Tim Cook and China will take care of the rest.
Ironically, seeing profits slowly start to get smaller only strengthens your resolve. You hold. You listen to the pumps to buy on the dips. And it keeps working. You're rich. But for every disciplined investor who manages his or her position properly, there's at least one devotee who stays all-in and keeps digging himself or herself a deeper hole. Before you know it, your otherwise rational mind fooled you into staying in a position from 700 down to 250 because you just knew it had to make it to 1,000. It was destiny.
What makes the whole situation even more tragic is that it's relatively easy to manage a position like AAPL, particularly once you have built up some size. Apple is a long-term investor's dream not simply because it seems to always end up moving higher, but because it's an income-generating powerhouse.