On WWDC Keynote Day, Traders Are More Fickle Than Apple Fans (Updated)

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is, to many, kind of like Christmas. Some observers and analysts of the world’s largest company (by market capitalization) have created and discussed, with great anticipatory excitement, their wish lists for new hardware and software.

There is, of course, one big problem. Those keynotes can only be so long, and even though Apple has around a quarter-trillion dollars in cash (mostly kept overseas) and a formidable bench of designers and engineers, there’s only so much a company can get done in a year. In other words, there will be more than a few people, both at WWDC and those keeping up with the news remotely, who will end up disappointed that one or more of their wishes weren’t fulfilled.

You know who else is historically disappointed about Keynote Day at WWDC? Traders on Wall Street.

We sourced adjusted opening and closing data for Apple’s stock through Wolfram Mathematica and calculated the percentage change in share price on WWDC Keynote Day going back to 2006.

As we can see, traders haven’t been terribly excited by Apple’s WWDC announcements. And, as it happens, this phenomenon hasn’t gone unnoticed.

According to Piecyk’s post on BTGI’s site today (which can be accessed by creating a free account), he cites a “4.4% [rally] over the last month following Apple’s earnings report and on optimism that the next iPhone will drive a massive upgrade cycle when it’s launched, which is expected to happen later this year. Last year, there was little excitement leading up to WWDC, yet the stock increased 9.2% anyway.”

However, Piecyk is quick to point out that “Apple’s stock has typically increased in the month leading up to WWDC, but has always been down the day of the event and has been down, on average, the day after the event and one month after the event.”

Why does this happen? As Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote for Fortune in his coverage of Piecyk’s perennial warning leading up to WWDC 2015, it’s likely a function of Apple investors “[buying] the rumor and selling the news.”

This year’s WWDC was hotly anticipated, with rumors of a new Siri-powered speaker, the possibility of payments integration into iMessages within the next twelve months, and an increased push into the digital services market, all of which could drive more revenue to Apple.

Investors once hot and bothered by Apple might end up with cold feet. Apple opened down 1%, and if by the closing bell today that trend held. We’re at twelve for twelve WWDCs in which Apple traders wound up disappointed.

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