It’s the biggest stock in the world, but don’t call it a bellwether. Apple (AAPL) is worth more than any company in history, at more than $750 billion. It is followed by more analysts and showered with more hype than all the Republican presidential contenders combined.
Yet when Apple reports its hotly anticipated results for its fiscal second quarter, the numbers will tell us almost nothing about the state of the economy, and its stock reaction will deliver no clues about the broad market’s prospects. That’s because the Apple economy is a singular thing, operating within the global market for goods and services but only marginally dependent on them.
And Apple shares have shown a stark tendency to remain out of step with the stock market as a whole. Which means that when the company reports what are almost certain to be powerfully strong profits after the close today, it won’t tell us much at all about the condition of the tech industry or the rest of the business world.
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