Through three and a half months of market activity so far in 2018, Apple’s stock price situation is unusual. After being one of the top performing mega-cap stocks for years, it has only tracked the market.
Both Apple’s share price and the S&P 500 have risen about 1.5% this year. Apple has lacked a blockbuster product launch. Investors are worried the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X have lost sales momentum. Sales of the flagship iPhone X, in particular, have been disappointing, according to industry analysis.
Rival Samsung also has had a successful launch of its Galaxy S9 family. Consumer Reports recently reported:
The new phones offer stepped-up security features, super slow-motion video, and a camera that can turn your image into a personalized emoji. In the end, though, it was durability, speedier processing, and top-quality sound that nudged the S9 and S9+ (which start at $720 and $840, respectively) just ahead of the competition in an exceptionally crowded field.
Reviews like this one will help push Galaxy S9 sales higher. Consumers also can see the iPhone 8 and iPhone X next to the Samsung products in carrier retail locations. Apple has a formidable competitor and buyers can see them side by side.
Other Apple products are struggling. A recent IDC research report on global PC sales showed Apple in fifth place based on sales in the first quarter. It sold 4 million “traditional” PCs, and its market share dropped from 7.0% in the period last year to 6.6% in the most recent period. HP and Lenovo each had market shares over 20%.
Unless Apple has another huge product launch this year, there is nothing but better than expected earnings to press shares higher. The hope for that has faded, based on sales of Apple’s iPhone and less important products in terms of revenue contribution.
Apple’s shares have not outperformed the market this year and may not in the near-term future.