Apple staff and customers, wearing facemasks to protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus, are seen on the shop premises in Beijing on February 22, 2020.
Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images
CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday he thinks Apple’s stock can sink further and cautioned retail investors against going all in on the tech giant’s coronavirus-driven pullback.
“It’s still too early to me,” Cramer said on “Fast Money Halftime Report.” “I think Apple can still fall more because Apple has a twin problem of manufacturing in China and selling in China.”
Apple temporarily entered into bear market territory Friday when its stock hit an intraday low of $256.37, meaning shares were more than 20% below their record high of $327.85 per share on Jan. 29. The stock has recovered and is trading around $270 in mid-afternoon Friday.
The broader market has experienced a volatile Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point dropping more than 1,000 points, as stocks continue their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
Concerns about the coronavirus’ impact on the global economy continue to grow as the virus spreads across the world. The worries have led investors to continue adding to their bond-market exposure and turning away from equities.
While Apple has warned the coronavirus will prevent it from meeting its own guidance for the March quarter, Cramer said he still believes in Apple’s long-term prospects.
He said he wishes he could tell investors the iPhone maker’s stock has reached its nadir in a tumultuous stretch for financial markets. But the coronavirus outbreak may continue to rattle investors and further drive down Apple’s stock, Cramer said.
Even so, Cramer said he wouldn’t tell retail investors who want to build a position in Apple to completely stay away, noting the company is trading at a significant discount from its all-time levels.
“How about this. You want to buy 100 shares of Apple, I’m talking about a Robinhood-like customer. I would buy 25 right here,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.” “Great balance sheet. Doing quiet well.”
Cramer’s hesitancy to go all in on Apple has to do with other investment opportunities. Cramer said he believes there are large-cap tech companies that play better than Apple at a time when the possibility remains of significant disruptions to daily life.
Cramer said he prefers Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon because “these are companies that are built for non-China commerce that is at home.”
“Maybe they work in every environment, but this one in particular,” he said. “If you want to stock up, you go to Amazon.”