Analyst: Apple May Start 2014 With a Flop

blue apple building modernWill Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors be disappointed by iPhone sales in the first half of calendar year 2014? Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes that most analysts are overestimating Apple’s iPhone sales for the March and June quarters, reports Barron’s.

Sacconaghi notes that iPhone sales historically have a steep drop-off after the first full quarter of sales. For this reason, the analyst models $42.33 billion revenue and $10.42 EPS for the quarter ending in March. Sacconaghi’s March quarter estimate is lower than the consensus for $44.9 billion revenue and $10.75 EPS.

On the other hand, Sacconaghi believes that most analysts are underestimating sales for the first quarter of Apple’s fiscal year. He thinks that the December quarter will be stronger than what most analysts estimate due to the addition of NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) as a carrier partner and the inclusion of China in the initial iPhone launch.

Sacconaghi models revenue of $58.6 billion and $15.40 earnings per share for the first quarter of the new fiscal year. This is well above the consensus estimate of $55.5 billion revenue and $13.81 EPS.

Despite the differences between Sacconaghi’s individual quarter estimates and the consensus, his overall estimates for fiscal year 2014 are close to the consensus. “The upshot is that we expect an even more pronounced impact from new iPhones in the September and December quarters this year, but a steeper fall off,” wrote Sacconaghi via Barron’s.

Sacconaghi reiterates an “Outperform” rating and a $600 price target on Apple shares. Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.

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