Analyst: Sell Apple Before Doomsday

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If you thought Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) pessimism was done and dusted for now, a new research report is ready to spoil the bull party once again with some ominous news for the iPhone maker. Analyst Per Lindberg of Norway-based investment bank ABGSC Sundal Collier has initiated coverage of Apple stock with a rare Sell rating and a $400 price target. Shares were on an upward trend on Monday, up 0.30 percent at $587.02 in the afternoon.

What Led Lindberg to the Negative Analysis?

“For all its commercial success, marketing prowess and brand image, Apple is bound to enter a phase of much stiffer competition, far tougher comparisons, and, materially less generous operator subsidies,” Lindberg wrote in his report, according to Barron’s. Apple’s products were “no longer unique,” wireless providers were looking for alternatives, and customers were “suffering from ‘fashion fatigue’.”

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The company’s problems were showcased in the recent Maps debacle, according to the analyst. “The maps fiasco — affecting hundreds of millions of users of iOS 6 — serves as a crude reminder that all cycles of vogue eventually come to an end, as spirits of innovation give way to acts of protection — in quite vivid display today,” Lindberg wrote. “As judged by the lackluster reception of Apple Maps (wholly inadequate in terms of accuracy and completeness), iPhone 5 (plagued by iOS 6, manufacturing difficulties), and the mini-iPad (a rather immaterial size reduction of iPad 2), there are tangible signs that Apple no longer moves ahead at a pace required to avoid vicious price wars.”

The analyst added that he was anticipating sharply decelerating earnings growth next year for Apple, followed by “absolute erosion thereafter.”

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