Taiwanese Apple suppliers experienced a "very good" January, financially, despite Apple "putting on the breaks extra hard" the previous month, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White said on Tuesday.
A group of nine suppliers handpicked by White — collectively nicknamed the "Apple Monitor" — saw sales remain flat month-to-month, according to Forbes. Typically, the group sees an average decline of 11 percent in January.
Though refusing to name the Monitor companies, White said the group deliberately excludes Foxconn and Pegatron, since their sheer size would skew results. The two firms assemble a number of Apple products.
In December a variety of Apple suppliers reported financial setbacks, including Foxconn, which appeared to validate a report that Apple was cutting back on iPhone 6s/6s Plus orders for the March quarter by as much as 30 percent. Nikkei described the maneuver as an "inventory adjustment" rather than a reflection of weak demand.
Nevertheless, Apple is guiding to its first year-over-year decline in iPhone sales for the current quarter, something CEO Tim Cook has blamed on an unusually successful March 2015 quarter and global economic "malaise."
January's supplier recovery may reinforce views that iPhone sales will resume an upward climb in the June quarter. Apple is still financially dependent on the iPhone, which easily dwarfs Macs and iPads in terms of revenue.
White is holding a "buy" rating on Apple stock with a $200 price target.