Analysts continue to express their concerns for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) future profitability even as the iPhone maker’s stock begins to etch out gains on the stock chart once more, surpassing the important psychological and technological benchmark known as the 50-day simple moving average last week. Hitting that level was an important step for the stock, even though it is still trading around that average, as it gave analysts a shard of evidence that shares may have finally reached bottom after their six-month decline.
Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron lowered his price target for shares of Apple on Tuesday from $600 to $550, dampening near-term expectations. As the rumored release date for the company’s next version of its flagship smartphone — named the iPhone 5S if analyst speculation is correct — nears, Kidron argued that customers will increasingly hold off purchasing new phones in anticipation of the next refresh. This change to purchasing patterns will likely hurt the company over the short term, as the lower sales figures will hurt its financials.
“Like spring training, the national pastime of predicting potential iPhone/iPad release dates is picking up steam and increasingly mid-year focused,” wrote Kidron in a research note seen by StreetInsider. “Nothing has substantiated, but as news flows, consumers will likely pause purchases awaiting the update. We see risk to consensus and are lowering our March/June estimates while raising Sept.”