Apple stock falls as some misinterpret demand for iPhone 5 in China

“Apple AAPL products are among the most wanted gifts this holiday season, but its stock continues to be out of favor with investors,” Patrick Seitz reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “In afternoon trading Friday, Apple shares were down 3.8%, near 509.55. Earlier in the day, Apple was down as much as 4.2%.”

“The latest news making investors nervous includes an analyst report with a lower earnings forecast for the next two years and worries about weaker-than-expected iPhone 5 sales in China,” Seitz reports. “UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich on Friday cut his earnings estimates for Apple’s fiscal 2013 and 2014 by about 10% to roughly 5% below consensus forecasts. He now expects Apple to post earnings per share of $47, down from $51.50, for fiscal 2013 ending in September, and $55.85, down from $62, for 2014. He made the changes based on lower iPhone and iPad sales than he originally forecast. Milunovich forecast more conservative growth for Apple based on supply chain checks indicating a slowdown in iPhone production in the March quarter and expectations that the iPhone 5 won’t sell as well in China as the iPhone 4S…Jefferies analyst Peter Misek cut his current-quarter iPhone sales estimate on Friday to 48 million from 52 million, citing concerns about sales in China, Forbes reported. The iPhone 5 debuted in China on Friday to smaller crowds than other Apple launches, he said.

Seitz reports, “But Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster dismissed those concerns. ‘The lack of lines at Apple retail locations in China have fueled concerns about China’s demand for iPhones,’ Munster said in a report Friday. ‘We believe there are three core reasons for fewer lines as compared to the 4S: Apple implementing a reservation system to avoid crowds, double the number of points of sale compared to the 4S, and increased pre-orders online. We remain comfortable with our 45 million December iPhone unit estimate, including 4-5 million from China.’”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple institutes a system in China to minimize lines and certain “analysts” are shocked, just shocked, we tell you, that there are no lines. Furthermore, Apple actually ratchets back iPhone production after the holiday shopping quarter. Let’s all gasp in unison with faux “concern,” shall we?

You can bet that we’ll be revisiting these “analysts” and comparing their estimates to Apple’s actual results in the future.

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