Analysts Grow Quite Mixed on Apple After Slower iPhone Sales

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has faced growing concerns recently that its iPhone X wasn’t everything that it was expected to be, and as a result it could face slumping sales. After a catastrophic day in the markets Friday and a questionable earnings report, Apple took a big step back, putting the stock down roughly 5% since the start of this year. Analysts took note and responded accordingly.

24/7 Wall St. has included some brief highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts were saying about the company afterward.

The iPhone giant said that it had $3.89 in earnings per share (EPS) and $88.3 billion in revenue, which compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $3.86 in EPS and revenue of $87.28 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $3.36 and $78.35 billion in revenue.

The product sales breakdown came out as follows:

  • iPhone shipped 77.32 million units for $61.58 billion in revenue, up 13% year over year.
  • iPad shipped 13.17 million units for $5.86 billion in revenue, up 6%.
  • Mac shipped 5.11 million units for $6.90 billion in revenue, down 5%.
  • Services revenues grew 18% year over year to $8.47 billion.
  • Other Products revenues grew 36% to $5.49 billion.

In terms of the guidance for the fiscal second quarter, Apple expects to see revenues in the range of $60 billion to $62 billion, with a gross margin between 38.0% and 38.5%. The consensus estimates call for $2.84 in EPS and $65.73 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Merrill Lynch remains bullish on Apple’s upside potential to gross margins and significant cash return potential, offset by weaker iPhone units reported. The services acceleration and increased subscriptions also provide a long-term path to diversification from iPhones because the company’s installed base is still growing. The firm raised Apple earnings expectations principally on lower taxes, while it ticked down the revenues due to weaker iPhone unit assumptions.

CFRA (S&P) maintained its Buy rating on Apple with a $195 price target. According to its report:

Apple posted December-Quarter EPS of $3.89 vs. $3.36, beating the $3.85 consensus. Sales rose 13%, with iPhone sales growing 13%, as higher selling prices were partly offset by a decline in unit shipments. We positively view Services growth of 18% and Other products (e.g. Apple Watch), up 36%. We think Apple executed well internationally, with Greater China rising 11% and Asia overall growing 15% (including Japan). While the March-Quarter revenue outlook of $60 billion – $62 billion was below our view, we think shares have largely discounted iPhone X softness. We view a 15% projected March-Quarter tax rate as a bright spot.

A few other analysts weighed in on Apple as well:

  • Bernstein downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform with the price target cut to $170 from $195.
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets downgraded it to Sector Weight from Overweight.
  • Barclays lowered its target price to $170 from $174.
  • RBC raised its price target from $200 to $205.
  • BMO raised its price target from $162 to $166.
  • Morgan Stanley raised its target to $203 from $200.
  • And Maxim raised its price target to $210 from $204.

Shares of Apple closed out the week at $160.50, with a consensus analyst price target of $189.78 and a 52-week range of $128.16 to $180.10.