If the profile of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock chart were a roller coaster track, the past five trading days would be one of those vectors that puts your gut into weightlessness. After climbing from below $430 per share on March 12 to more than $460 on March 25, the stock has effectively entered free fall and is down nearly 6.5 percent over the past week. The stock was back below $430 on Monday, but edged higher on Tuesday morning.
Complicating tepid gains on Tuesday is some bearish growling from Goldman Sachs. The firm retains a buy rating on the stock, but reports indicate that Apple has been removed from the much-watched conviction buy list. What’s more, the firm cut its earnings and price targets…
Citing expectations for a weak first and second quarter — Goldman cut its 2013 earnings per share estimate from $47.29 to $44.64, and lowered its 12-month price target from $660 to $575.
Goldman’s new price target is about 6.9 percent lower than the mean target of $617.63, but still represents an upside of 34 percent on Monday’s closing price. The firm’s EPS target of $44.64 is about 1.2 percent higher than the mean estimate of $44.12. The mean analyst EPS estimate for 2013 has come down 9.5 percent, or $4.66, over the past 3 months.
MarketWatch quotes the Goldman report: “The most recent product cycle has not driven the market share and new user growth we had anticipated, and we believe Apple may find it difficult to hit consensus expectations in the March and June quarters.”
The Goldman analysts indicate that strong product launches in the second half of the year could help revitalize growth.
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