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With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) edging closer to its third-quarter earnings results, scheduled for July 24, some analysts are getting worried about the company missing Wall Street expectations. The worries stem from the fact that the company has reportedly seen sales slowdowns of its bestselling iPhone in anticipation of the next generation of the device being launched soon.
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Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba said in a research note on Wednesday that the company “had already started experiencing a slowdown due to the impending iPhone 5 launch.”
Lamba predicted that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was likely to report revenue in the $36.5 billion to $37.5 billion range for the quarter, below the analyst consensus of $37.6 billion. He also expected profits to come in the $10.25 to $10.50 per share range. Wall Street has predicted profits at $10.35 a share.
“Although Apple experienced strong momentum in iPad sales which should benefit from increased distribution of the new iPad, inventory build-up and lack of competition, our checks indicate that the company has started to experience slowdown ahead of the expected launch of the iPhone 5,” he wrote. “We expect the company to ship around 27 million iPhones vs. consensus of ~29-30 million devices.”
Lamba also wrote that the company’s guidance for the September quarter will be below consensus. However, he maintained a Buy rating on the stock and a $725 price target. “While the company is unlikely to post upside to June estimates and September quarter forecasts present downside risk, we remain positive about the stock as the iPhone 5 upgrade cycle should move FY13 estimates significantly higher,” he wrote.
He added that his checks indicated Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) could sell over 90 million iPhones in the calendar second half of 2012. In addition, the company’s strong position in the tablet space and share gains by the new Mac computers was likely to continue pushing estimates and the stock price higher.
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