Apple’s stealth rally

May 4, 2009, 6:40 PM UTC

Apple’s (AAPL) shares Monday morning shrugged off bad news to soar past $128.24 share. The iPhone had just been unseated by Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry in NPD’s latest smartphone rankings, but by close of day Apple’s stock had climbed to $132.08, up 3.8% for the day.

What the significance of that $128.24 price point?

That was Apple’s closing price on Friday Sept. 26, 2008. The following Monday, Morgan Stanley’s Kathryn Huberty and RBC Capital’s Mike Abramsky turned bearish on Apple. Citing a ChangeWave survey that showed a sharp drop in consumer plans to buy the company’s computers, each downgraded the stock from buy to neutral.

Apple went into freefall. By 10:30 a.m. its shares had dropped 16% — wiping out $18 billion in the company’s market capitalization in the space of 60 minutes. Apple closed at $105.26 that day, down 18% — its worst sell off in eight years.

The stock fell with the rest of the market over the next four months and hit bottom on Jan. 20 at $78.20. It has been outperforming the NASDAQ ever since.

According to Fly On the Wall — which calls Apple’s recent climb a “stealth rally” — resistance levels to watch are at $130.00, $132.20 and $134.79. Support is at $127.50.

RIM, meanwhile, closed at $74.3, up 2.77% for the day. RBC’s Abramsky raised his price target from to $90 from $80 following positive comments from RIM management.

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