Shares of Apple (AAPL) stock were down 25% in November after hitting an all-time high of $705.07 in late September. Sentiment appeared to be improving in late November, but then the stock’s course turned south once again and hit a 10-month low this past Friday. Monday saw Apple shares dip into the $400-range for the first time since February during the pre-market session, and there’s no end in sight for the consumer electronics giant’s current slide. What brought on this most recent wave of soured views? From the look of things, two big cuts from Citi and Canaccord have sent investors headed for the hills.
Citi analysts on Monday issued a note to clients cutting their price target on Apple shares to $575 as industry watchers and investors wonder when we might see Apple’s “next big thing” unveiled, whatever it may be. More importantly, they cut their rating from Buy to Neutral on the belief that heavy iPhone demand cannot continue to carry the stock as it has been. The bank still expects a big holiday quarter but sees Apple’s trimmed orders with suppliers as a troubling sign moving into 2013.
Meanwhile, Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley lowered his price target on Apple shares to $750 from $800 Monday morning, pointing to softer than expected iPhone and iPad sales in fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014 as his reasoning for the cut.
“While our November channel checks indicated very strong sales of the iPhone 5, we are slightly lowering our F2013 and F2014 iPhone and iPad estimates due to softer sales expectations in international markets, primarily in Europe,” Walkley wrote in a note to investors on Monday morning. “While order reductions to iPhone suppliers are not unusual this time of year, we believe reduced iPhone 5 orders for the March quarter could also indicate an earlier launch of new iPhone products in the June quarter. Despite our slightly lowered estimates, we believe Apple’s industry-leading software ecosystem and integrated hardware experience will result in a strong multi-year product cycle.”
Walkley maintained his Buy rating on Apple stock despite the price cut. Shares of Apple dropped as low as $499.00 during Monday’s pre-market session but have since recovered, down 0.50% at $507.09.[bgr-post-bug]