In light of Apple's lackluster June-quarter financial results, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Barton Crockett made the rare move of downgrading the tech giant's stock from Buy to Neutral. While Crockett maintained his target price at $198, he expressed concern over Apple's stagnant top-line growth.
Following the release of its fiscal third-quarter results, Apple's stock dropped 3.2% to $185.06. The company reported a 1% decline in revenue compared to the same period last year, marking its third consecutive quarterly decline. Disappointingly, Apple also projected similar performance for the September quarter, dismaying investors who were hopeful for a return to growth.
With this latest decline, it appears that Apple's stock is poised to fall below the $3 trillion valuation mark for the first time since early July.
Crockett's decision to downgrade Apple's stock was primarily based on the absence of substantial growth and the stock's near-record valuation levels. Despite Apple's accomplishments, such as the successful introduction of Apple Silicon in its Mac lineup and a reacceleration of services, Crockett believes that a slowdown in the US market will persist until a significant new product category emerges. However, the timing and success of such an initiative remain uncertain, leaving little reason to favor Apple's shares, especially given their current high multiples.
During the quarter, iPhone sales totalled $39.7 billion, representing a 2.4% decline. Mac sales amounted to $6.8 billion, down 7.3% compared to the previous year, while iPad sales reached $5.8 billion, reflecting a substantial 19.8% decrease. Sales in the wearables, home, and accessories segment fared slightly better with $8.3 billion in revenue, indicating a modest growth of 2.4%. Meanwhile, services revenue experienced an encouraging 8.2% increase, acting as the primary counterbalance to the weakness in hardware sales.
Apple faced a decline in sales across the Americas region, which saw a 5.5% drop. CEO Tim Cook attributed this disappointment to a sluggish smartphone market, marking the third consecutive quarter of declining sales in the region. Crockett believes that although emerging markets may exhibit strength, Apple's shares will struggle to rally without an improvement in sales within the Americas.
It remains to be seen how Apple will navigate these challenges and steer the company towards sustained growth. As the tech giant continues to grapple with a rather lackluster performance, analysts and investors alike are eagerly anticipating Apple's next move.
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