Argus is not well known for making intraday calls, but perhaps a target cut of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will turn some heads. The independent research firm’s Jim Kelleher did maintain his Buy rating for Apple, but the target price was lowered to $600 from $775 in his call today.
Kelleher believes that Apple is facing revenue and margin challenges as more smartphone and tablets elsewhere are coming out at lower price points. He does not expect Apple to respond with a lower-priced phone before mid-summer, but he think that Apple should have a cheaper phone in time for Christmas 2013. The chaotic environment affecting Apple is from proliferation of form factors, disruption in the ranks of device sellers, and new competition in mobile operating systems. Ultimately he thinks that this could drive buyers back to the familiarity and ease of use of iOS devices. Apple was said to appear inexpensive at current levels after the 40% share price pullback. Kelleher also said that Apple has sufficient growth and operating leverage to preserve margins near current levels.
As far as why this call matters so much, well that is not simple to explain but it is simple in reality. Argus theoretically has no dogs in the fight and has no conflicts of interest as it is truly an independent research shop and it is not doing investment banking with Apple nor its peers.
Apple shares are barely positive for the day at $429.01 against a 52-week week range of $419.00 to $705.07.