Maybe you think a 16 year old actress can teach you nothing about stocks. My very first Fool post was about actor Shia LeBeouf and his heads up on McDonald’s which surged almost 30% that year being the best Dow performer after his call on David Letterman. Rachel Fox, 16 year old actress, trades on her phone on downtime between takes and has an interesting blog. Her post about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) thieves was particularly intriguing as I was already thinking about two other companies whose products thieves have been targeting, The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) and Mead Johnson Nutrition CO (NYSE:MJN).
There is a global crime spree targeting Apple products. In China pop up counterfeit Apple stores have been a problem but the boldest thievery was on New Year’s Eve in Paris when armed robbers stole Apple products worth $1.3 million. A 40% rise in what’s called “Apple picking” actually raised the crime rate in NYC according to Mayor Bloomberg. Last year in Japan thieves made away with $95,000 in iPhones before the iPhone 5 launch.
What’s most interesting is a comment by the NYPD that, “As if to mirror the market place, thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers decreased.” This is almost a no brainer. Thieves aren’t that smart, (witness the gang in Tennessee who rammed a truck into a Best Buy loading dock door hoping to steal new iPhone 5s only to find the store hadn’t yet received them) but they know what people want and what they want is Apple; so much so it raised NYC’s crime rate by 14%, the first rise in the crime rate in two decades. And what thieves don’t want are Samsung, Nokia, and BlackBerry phones. Thieves are also stealing iPads, iPad Minis, iPods and MacBooks. Apple iPhone owners should note the company is working on an anti-theft accelerometer.
Crime statistics aren’t a metric to necessarily trade on but what they do indicate is demand…a lot of demand. Apple has regained a little share price appreciation mainly due to the Einhorn proxy news but it’s muted the real story about worldwide demand. Frankly, Apple is a steal now…how many big tech companies have a 10.44 P/E and a 2.30% yield and have such a cult following? And a PEG under 1 at .55? And no debt? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Not International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), not Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), not Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
There has been a lot of punditry about what Apple should do with its cash and hand wringing over how lowering the price on MacBooks ruins the high end image of Apple. All noise. Still the best retailer out there and until I see my Apple store empty on a weekday I will pound the bull table. And if Apple can make that big move into China with China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:CHL) or make a slightly less expensive iPhone for the emerging markets or best of all, raise the common yield just a hair, I might break that table.