Unfortunately, it’s another sour day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Shares participated in broad market losses, and shed as much as 1.3 percent in morning trading on Monday. Besides general sensitivity to the ebb and flow of investor sentiment — on edge after last week’s historic highs — negative catalysts could include a note from an analyst at Topkea Capital Markets, which suggests that February Apple Monitor sales missed the mark, and came up short.
Final February sales figures for the firm’s Apple Monitor “fell by 31% MoM and much worse than the average 8% decline over the past seven years. Since the timing of Chinese New Year can negatively impact sales in February, we also calculated the average February performance when excluding a January Chinese New Year, which equates to down 15%. Either way, the Apple Monitor came up short this February and delivered the worst February we have on record”
What’s more, supplier checks in Taiwan indicate that sales are down 25 percent, month over month, also the worst February on record. Regardless of any sales dip, Topeka Capital maintains a Buy rating on the stock with an $888 price target, which is pretty much the most bullish position any analyst has on the stock. The mean target of 45 brokers is just $627.69 per share, still an impressive 45.39 percent upside on Apple’s March 8 closing price. The analyst noted that his price target equates to a straight price-to-earnings ratio of “just over 15x our CY13 EPS estimate, and is well below the mid-20x’s multiple of 2006-2010.” Apple is currently trading at a P/E of 9.67.
Looking ahead, the analyst indicates the significance of Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) March 14 event in New York, where the company is expected to unveil the Galaxy S IV. “The Galaxy S IV is the most important competitor to Apple’s iPhone and will be closely scrutinized this Thursday,” he notes.
At the end of the last week, a few analysts published notes hypothesizing that Apple could be gearing up to release the next iteration of the iPhone as early as the third quarter of this calendar year.
Here is an analyst at Raymond James: “A number of component suppliers to Apple have recently indicated an expectation of earlier seasonality this year than last year, both in terms of sluggish orders near term and expectation of growth after a springtime lull. This appears consistent with at least one new iPhone model (we are presuming iPhone 5S branding) earlier in calendar 3Q this year than the late September launch of the iPhone 5 last year. This should cause much lower iPhone shipments in calendar 2Q and higher shipments in calendar 3Q.”
So far, so good — at least the analysts are pointing in the same general direction, instead of in opposite ways.
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