Apple confidence sinks as lead bull reins in target

Apple Guidance Analysis

Apple (AAPL) has had no shortage of bulls pushing its stock price up over the past few years. While Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is typically thought of as Apple’s head cheerleader on the Street, not even Munster would reach into the $1,000-range with his 12-month price targets. Only Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White suggested Apple’s stock would climb that high, but the analyst lowered his target on Thursday following Apple’s after-hours blood bath.

Shares of Apple stock were trading down more than 10% pre-market on Thursday after Apple’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report confirmed that growth is slowing and gross margins are shrinking. Topeka’s Brian White still believes Apple will be the king of the hill for quite some time, but on he lowered his sky-high $1,111 price target on Apple shares to a slightly less sky-high $888 on Thursday. The analyst maintained his Buy rating on the stock, however he lowered his target in light of Apple’s declining share price.

White trimmed his EPS estimates a bit to $10.00 for the March quarter, well below Wall Street’s current $11.67 consensus, and he cut his full-year F2013 EPS and revenue projections as well.

“For 2QFY13, Apple expects revenue of $41 billion to $43 billion (Street is at $45.38 billion) and inline with our $41.9 million projection,” White wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. “Given our expectation of a shorter launch cycle for the iPhone and iPad, we recently adjusted the seasonality in our model and particularly for the March quarter, which jibes with the outlook that Apple provided last night. As such, we are maintaining our 2QFY13 revenue estimate at $41.9 billion, while adjusting our EPS projection to $10.00 from $10.37 (Street is at $11.67). For FY13, we are slightly increasing our revenue estimate to $192.1 billion from $191.9 billion, while trimming our EPS projection to $47.73 from $49.04.”

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