Reuters

(Reuters)

Analysts Take a Bite Out of Apple, Lower Price Targets

Features Reuters

Apple Inc has lost about $50 billion of its market value in the first four days of the year, forcing some Wall Street analysts to adjust their view on the iPhone maker.

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At least five analysts cut their price targets on Apple's shares on Friday, in response to reports of slowing shipments of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

But alarm bells are not ringing yet.

"We continue to view the near-term softness in iPhone units as the result of tough comparisons rather than a change to the secular growth rate," BMO Capital Markets analysts wrote in a note. The brokerage cut its price target on the stock to $133 from $142.

Apple shares were up 2 percent at $98.35 in early trading, snapping a three-day selloff.

Cowen & Co cut estimate for iPhone unit sales for the March quarter to 47 million units from 53 million. The brokerage cut its price on the stock to $125 from $130.

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JMP Securities analysts made the steepest cut, reducing its target by $15 to $150.

"These adjustments are something of a catch-up move as adverse data points have been accumulating around iPhone demand trends since early December 2015," JMP analysts wrote in a note.

The median price target on the stock is $145, according to Thomson Reuters data.

While analysts see near-term weakness in iPhone sales, they expect a rebound in demand after the launch of iPhone 7 with a new design.

"Despite the reduction, we continue to view the risk/reward on AAPL positively as we anticipate growth in the 7 cycle, which should drive stock appreciation through 2016," Pacific Crest Securities analysts wrote in a note. The brokerage cut PT on the stock to $132 from $142.

(Reporting By Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)