Wells Fargo cuts Apple price target as stock hovers just above $100
The price of of Apple stock has been driven lower by concerns over demand for the iPhone 6s lineup, dropping near $100 per share in early trading on Wednesday as investment firm Wells Fargo Securities cut its own outlook, predicting a short-term "road bump" before a return to growth.
Analyst Maynard Um reduced his "valuation range" for shares of AAPL to between $120 and $130 on Wednesday, down slightly from his previous range of $125 to $135. Um said he was erring "on the side of conservatism" given recent concern over iPhone 6s sales in the current March quarter.
He said those issues are not surprising to him, as iPhone sales growth tends to be softer during an "S" product cycle. But history has also shown that Apple can also find unit strength from lower end models, Um said, noting that the iPhone 4s performed well during the iPhone 5s product cycle.
And while Um said there is "potential" for iPhone sales to fall year over year in the March quarter, he doesn't believe Apple's hot selling handset has "peaked."
Specifically, he expects the December 2016 quarter, with an anticipated "iPhone 7" product upgrade, to set a new quarterly record for the company.
Seeing continued growth in the future, Wells Fargo Securities has maintained an "outperform" rating for shares of AAPL. But the report was issued Monday before markets opened, when shares of the company were down more than 2 percent, hovering just above $100.
Shares of AAPL recovered slightly Monday morning, returning to a price over $102, up from a daily low of $100.22.
The company was dinged by a pair of reports issued on Tuesday, claiming that Apple was planning to cut iPhone 6s orders by 30 percent from its originally anticipated numbers. It was suggested that demand for the flagship iPhone 6s series has been lower than Apple expected.
However, other reports also support Um's thesis that Apple's more affordable iPhone models could be picking up slack. Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin said on Twitter that his own data and checks suggest older models have proven popular in recent months.
Investors should have a clearer picture on Jan. 26, when Apple will reveal the results of its just-concluded holiday quarter, and also provide guidance for the current March quarter.