CUPERTINO, Calif., Thu Jan 24, 2013 — Weaker-than-expected holiday sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone reinforced fears that it is losing its dominance in smartphones, driving its shares down 9 percent in premarket trading and drawing another round of stock price target cuts.
Fourteen brokerages including Barclays Capital, Mizuho Securities USA, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Raymond James, Robert W. Baird & Co. and Canaccord Genuity cut their price target on the stock by $142 on average to $599.
Apple’s shares closed at $514 Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
Jefferies & Co. cut its rating on Apple’s stock to “hold” from “buy” and slashed its share price target by $300 to $500.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who has previously raised red flags about Apple cutting orders to suppliers, said the iPhone slowdown was “real and material” and here to stay.
“We think Apple is losing the screen-size wars,” Misek said, noting that demand was moving away from the iPhone’s 3.5-inch and 4-inch screens to screens of 5 inches offered by rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, HTC Corp. and Nokia Oyj.
Misek is a top-rated analyst for the accuracy of his earnings estimates for Apple, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Apple said it shipped a record 47.8 million iPhones in the December quarter, but this trailed the average analyst forecast of 50 million units.