With a rise in the stock of embattled retailer GameStop Corp. (NASDAQ: GME) that drove its shares up from $5 as high as $414, investors in America’s largest tech companies, the shares of which have risen 50% or better in the last year, have started to ask the question of whether they put their money in the wrong place. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) shareholders are no exception. Its stock is up over 90% in the last year, but down by as much as 5% in 2021.
The answer, of course, is when people bought each stock, and when they sold it. Or, if they bought one, and have not sold it at all. Apple’s shares may rise or drop 10% in the next month, depending to a large extent on the larger markets. Based on the trading of the last several days, GameStock shares could rise again, or tumble back, from their current price of $313 to the $5 level where they started the year.
The GameStock story has set the investment world on its ear, not just because of the huge swing in the stock, but because it raises the issue of value. On paper, GameStop is a company moving in the direction of $1. Its sales continue to fall, it continues to close stores, its revenue has been eaten into by Amazon.com and other large online retailers, although its own e-commerce business rose nicely in the last quarter. In the meantime, Apple’s earnings show the extent to which it is the greatest earnings juggernaut in the market. Revenue smashed through $111 billion last quarter and that took its market cap above $2.4 trillion.
Short term risk and reward are not the only lessons from the GameStock saga, which could last several more days until short-sellers have killed their positions and ravenous retailer investors sell their positions. Even traders who love risk cannot convince themselves that GameStock’s share price can be proven by its fundamentals. Apple’s stock may be a good place for investor money for decades. GameStock’s is unlikely to be beyond the middle of next month.
What Apple’s shareholders lost in GameStock, if they had any interest, was an opportunity to make fast money. That does not negate whether they were wise to put money into Apple. GameStock is a side bet, but not the investment that will be driven by a brand, sales of billions of units of smartphones, computers, and watches, and a services business that has grown to the point where it is unmatched.