Apple Recap: Another Cut, Duopoly Lives On, Dividend Trouble

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gained 2.26 percent to close at $449.83 on Monday, pulling the Nasdaq along with it. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.59 points, or 0.15 percent, at 3,154.30. Apple also regained its title as the largest U.S. company by market capitalization as Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) fell 0.7 percent to $91.11 and slipped back to second place.

Another Stock Cut

Apple was bumped from its Outperform rating to Neutral by analysts at Baird Equity Research, who also cut down the iPhone maker’s price target to $465 from $570. According to the firm, high consensus estimates, which were unreasonably high, posed the maximum danger for the stock. “We are increasingly wary of several near-term risks, particularly consensus estimates that we believe remain frustratingly too high,” Baird’s William Power wrote. “With estimates likely to fall further and gross margin concerns likely to linger, we believe the shares could drop further, despite the sharp sell-off and valuation.”

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According to the analyst, while he remained positive on Apple’s “leading product portfolio, unmatched ecosystem, and potential new products,” he was looking for a “more significant reboot of estimates” to become aggressive on the stock again…(Read more)

Duopoly Goes Strong

The rivalry between Apple’s iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is no secret, but just how dominant are the two operating systems in the global smartphone setup? According to a new survey, the two together now account for a record 92 percent of all smartphone shipments. Together, the Apple and Google software programs were on almost 200 million smartphones shipped around the world last quarter. But there is also a clear winner between the two leaders. According to Strategy Analytics data, Android took the lead with 152.1 million shipments, almost double the 80.6 million shipped in the fourth quarter in 2011. Its market share grew to 70 percent from 51 percent. The iPhone maker, meanwhile, shipped 47.8 million smartphones for a 22 percent market share, down slightly from 24 percent in the year-ago quarter… (Read more)

Angry Investors to Sue?

Several analysts have suggested over the past few days that Apple announce an increase in its dividend in order to create a catalyst for the stock. According to Gamco Investors’ Lawrence Haverty, the company should consider the suggestion a warning. This is because its decision to refrain from returning more cash to shareholders could leave Apple’s board vulnerable to investor lawsuits, Haverty told Bloomberg Radio on Monday. “Someone is going to sue them for excessive accumulation of cash,” Haverty said, though he did not discuss having any knowledge of a potential lawsuit. Gamco holds Apple shares… (Read more)

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