Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is losing bulls by the day, and this time, the company has been removed from an important list of stocks.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) has removed it from Americas Conviction List, although it maintains its Buy rating on the stock. The news comes only two months after Goldman Sachs gave Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) a big thumbs up.
In a report issued to investors on Monday, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) analysts said they removed the stock from Americas Conviction List because Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s recent products haven’t increased the company’s market share or grown the company’s user base as much as they expected.
The investment firm also said they believe it will be difficult for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to meet the consensus for its March and June quarters.
In addition to removing Apple from the key stock listing, which it has been on since December 2010, the analysts are also lowering their estimates and their price target for the company. Their new price target for the stock is $575 per share, a drop from $660 per share.
The analysts noted that since being added to Americas Conviction List, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares gained 33.8 percent, compared to just a 25.9 percent gain for the S&P 500 as a whole. They said they continue believing that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s “platform-centric business model” makes it more resilient than the model used by most other companies which focus their efforts purely on hardware.
Goldman Sachs analysts also said they predict that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will announce a new plan to allocate its capital, including a “substantial increase” in its share buyback plan or dividend. If the company does this, then that could give the stock a boost.
At the same time, the analysts predict that the stock’s value will greatly depend on its next product cycles and whether they can reignite the company’s market share momentum and user growth.
They also gave a rundown of the products they expect from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) this year. They’re looking for a low-cost iPhone to be introduced in the third quarter of the current calendar year. They predict that it will give Apple a boost in adding users in emerging markets.
The analysts also expect to add an iPhone with a larger screen, although they admit that at this point, there is “still little tangible evidence” that the company is working on it in the near term. They’re concerned that if a large screen iPhone doesn’t come out until next year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could face increased competitive pressures in the high end smartphone market.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) analysts predict there will be a refresh of the traditional iPad during the second calendar quarter, which they say could slow down some of the iPad Mini’s cannibalization.