Another crop of $1,000 iPhones this fall? Wall Street is yawning — and Apple’s stock is tanking.
Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant tumbled more than 2% on Monday after an analyst cut his rating to “sell” from “neutral,” warning that Apple’s business will get slammed by a “fundamental deterioration” during the coming year.
The main culprit is the iPhone, according to Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang. Apple’s current batch of $1,000 phones will continue to see “disappointing” sales as they struggle to replicate the excitement they did in previous years, Zhang said Monday.
To make matters worse, the company’s other products won’t pull enough weight to keep Apple’s revenue numbers high enough for investors, according to Zhang.
“iPad sales growth will slow in the second half of 2019,” Zhang wrote in a Monday note to clients, and growth for other Apple products “such as the HomePod, AirPod, and iWatch, may not be meaningful to support total revenue growth.”
The downgrade, which sent Apple’s stock sliding 2.1%, to close at $200.02, brings the number of sell ratings on Apple to five — the first time five analysts have recommended selling the stock since 1997, according to Bloomberg.
That was the year before Steve Jobs revived the company with the launch of the first iMac desktop computer. The iPod was launched four years later, in 2001.
Currently, 23 analysts rate Apple a buy and 21 analysts rate it a hold.
Late last month, Apple announced that star designer Jony Ive — who in his nearly 30 years at the company was responsible for the look and feel of all its flagship products, including the iPhone, the iPod and the MacBook — was leaving the company.
Ive, who had worked closely with Jobs on the iMac, the iPod and iPhone, was reportedly fed up with Chief Executive Tim Cook’s lack of interest in product design, according to a Wall Street Journal report last week. Cook has denied the report.
“It’s been a gut-wrenching period for Apple as well as its investors,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told The Post. “Ive leaving has only added to some of the perceived uncertainty going on in Cupertino.”
Nevertheless, Ives said on Monday he still sees reason to be upbeat on Apple, noting that he was “incrementally more positive” on global iPhone demand after recent supply-chain checks in Asia.
“Unless we see further serious cracks in the China demand story, we’re staying bullish,” Ive said. “Thus far, the bark is worse than the bite.”
Over the weekend, Jobs’ old nemesis Bill Gates made headlines after a CNN interview during which he called Jobs an “a–hole” who “cast spells” to motivate employees and ultimately save what had been a dying company.
In the interview, Gates called Jobs’ hard-charging management style “a good example of ‘don’t do this at home.’”
Gates added, however, that Jobs had an unparalleled ability to pick talent and motivate people.
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