While predicting the longer-term fate of AAPL stock is a skill few would claim to possess, a couple of UBS analysts reckon they have a pretty good steer on what’s going to happen over the next week or two. Business Insider notes that Steven Milunovich and Benjamin Wilson have found a reasonably consistent pattern around iPhone launches.

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The stock dips immediately before the launch event, when CEO Tim Cook walks on stage and introduces the new model. Then, between the event and the first day of sales, the stock goes up. After that, there is a dip and then a recovery when Apple reports its next quarterly earnings.

The movements they predict are small, so give little prospect of the average short-term investor making any money after dealing costs, but here’s what they’ve found by analysing the last four iPhone launches:

  • The stock climbs an average of 4% between event and launch
  • Then falls back that same 4% by two weeks after launch
  • Finally, it climbs an average of 2% in the two weeks leading up to the next earnings report

The graphs supporting this look reasonably convincing, but it’s worth noting that even these patterns are each only consistent for three out of the past four launches.

Business Insider then did its own analysis of the longer-term trends, showing that … you just can’t tell. As the site notes, AAPL has historically been a good long-term investment, roughly doubling in value from the launch of the iPhone 4s to today, but the usual disclaimer applies: stocks can go down as well as up, and there’s absolutely no guarantee you’ll get your money back, let alone make a profit.

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