Apple stock falls on report of iPad supply slowdown

Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:13pm EDT

A man looks at an Apple iPad 2 at the company's new store in Nanjing Road, Shanghai September 23, 2011. The store is Apple's fifth and largest in mainland China. REUTERS/Aly Song

A man looks at an Apple iPad 2 at the company's new store in Nanjing Road, Shanghai September 23, 2011. The store is Apple's fifth and largest in mainland China.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

(Reuters) - Apple Inc shares slipped on Monday following an analyst report that said the company was cutting orders from suppliers of parts for its iPad tablet.

JPMorgan Chase said in the research note out of Asia that several suppliers indicated in the past two weeks that Apple lowered fourth-quarter iPad orders by 25 percent.

"Our understanding is that this is not in preparation for a new model launch," said Gokul Hariharan, JP Morgan's Asia Pacific electronic manufacturing services analyst.

The move could result in slower sales for suppliers such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, the analyst added.

Concerns for a slowdown in iPad tablet sales come as is expected to unveil its own tablet rival on Wednesday. One analyst has already described the expected device as a "game changer" that could challenge the iPad.

Apple shares fell as low as $391.30, or 3.3 percent, before closing down 0.28 percent at $403.17 on Nasdaq. Hon Hai fell NT$0.40 to NT$68.60 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Apple declined to comment on the report.

Hariharan noted that Mark Moskowitz, JP Morgan's U.S.-based Apple analyst, does not expect the supply chain adjustments to make him lower his estimates for iPad shipments.

Other analysts also said they would not be changing their iPad shipment estimates and that it would be difficult to accurately estimate shipment orders.

"The iPhone 5 launch is much more important than the iPad right now," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. "Could the tablet market slow down? Yes, absolutely. But data from factories is notoriously unreliable, especially since Apple started diversifying their supplier base."

BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said he would be maintaining his forecasts of Apple selling 13 million iPads in the fourth quarter.

"I don't see any reason to change our estimates. We expect that iPad and iPhone production is shifting to Brazil and Apple remains the market leader that it created with the iPad," he said.

Global tablet sales are expected to explode to more than 50 million in 2011. Apple, which has sold nearly 29 million iPads so far, is expected to continue to dominate the market in the near term.

Another analyst report out of Asia over the weekend indicated the retail outlook was that Apple remained positive on the continent with packed Apple stores in several Chinese cities.

"We anticipate continued strong earnings growth for Apple due to our checks indicating strong global demand for the iPhone and iPad," analysts at Canaccord Genuity said.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke in New York and Poornima Gupta in San Francisco; editing by Dave Zimmerman, Maureen Bavdek, Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (6)
imurphit wrote:
I think Steve Jobs is laughing his butt off, knowing that Headlines like this just make earnings blowout so much nicer! Time to buy some more shares on any selloff!

Sep 26, 2011 9:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LaughingBoy48 wrote:
Ever hear the expression, “Well, knock me over with a feather”? It’s a rather suitable express for Apple’s share price. An unconfirmed story with a rather precise percentage number from unknown sources can easily knock down Apple’s share price with a feather. One might think that a softening of iPad sales would also take down any company that is considering releasing a tablet. I guess it doesn’t work that way. Apple is always said to take the brunt of the suffering when the economy weakens. It doesn’t usually end up that way, but Wall Street believes it does.

Apart from this story, I don’t quite see any other explanation for Apple’s share price drop. I’d say this story appears to be rather weak and suspicious since no component companies were named and Apple hasn’t confirmed any of it.

Sep 26, 2011 10:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
timacheson wrote:
Apple has cut iPad supply-chain orders by 25%. Apple shares have fallen sharply in response. Is this because demand has fallen and the tablet trend has already peaked, as stock-market investors seem to be concluding, or because of a new iPad in production, or both?

Does this herald the post-tablet era? That’s what Apple fans say about PCs whenever there’s a bad news story about any company involved with the PC market or its supply chain.

Personally, I’ve now sold my Apple shares in case they fall further when more details do emerge. ;)

Sep 26, 2011 11:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.