Apple's weak results spark fresh round of price target cuts

Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:35am EST

(Reuters) - Weaker-than-expected holiday sales of Apple Inc's iPhone reinforced fears that it is losing its dominance in smartphones, driving down its shares and drawing another round of stock price target cuts early on Thursday.

Shares of the company, which reported lower-than-expected revenue for the third straight quarter on Wednesday, were set to open 8 percent lower on the Nasdaq. Apple's Frankfurt-listed shares were down more than 7 percent.

Seven 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 $617.80.

Apple's shares closed at $514 Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

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.

Deutsche Bank, which made the deepest cut in its target price by trimming it to $575 from $800, said Apple should start making a lower-priced iPhone to arrest the market share loss.

Credit Suisse analysts said a new product cycle and wider telecom carrier selection could be possible catalysts for the company, but added that these were not immediately imminent.

"We believe a lower ability to beat earnings per share expectations, and some concerns on demand, may weigh on the stock near-term," said Credit Suisse, which cut its target price by $150 to $600.

Up to Wednesday, 24 analysts had lowered their price targets since October when Apple reported its fourth-quarter results, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma and Saqib Ahmed in Bangalore)

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