‘Apple Guru’, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffary is turning a bit bearish on the tech giant. Gene Munster still maintains his price target of $910 a share, but is lowering his estimates of iPhone 5 sales numbers. We previously discussed the latest predictions from Munster in this article. Munster states that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) must report strong earnings this quarter, to maintain the the trend of the last four and a half year. What is the rationale behind the new numbers and the forecasts?
Munster states ‘while we are lowering our iPhone estimate for the September quarter by 2.2 million units to 25 million, we believe that number is largely irrelevant. We believe that the bigger story for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be the December quarter and when the company is able to meet demand for iPhone 5. Based on our checks for in-store pickup at 100 US Apple retail locations over the past week, we believe supply remains extremely limited. While we are maintaining our 49 million iPhone estimate for December based on demand, if supply were to remain constrained for more than the next 3-4 weeks it may cause us to shift some December units into March.’
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Some other interesting trends Munster notes:
Bogey For September Results & December Guide
For upside consistent with the last four and a half years (5% upside to revenue, 14% upside to EPS), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have to report September revenue of $38.1 billion and EPS of $10.12. Assuming Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) guides the December quarter consistent with past guides since 2006 (3% downside to revenue and 10% downside to EPS) implies $53.3 billion and $13.85 EPS (Street $54.9 billion & $15.43 EPS). We expect a more conservative guide as the company has guided revenue down low double digits in the past two quarters and given supply uncertainty.
iPhone: (42% of sales) Expect 25 Million iPhones in September, But Number Irrelevant.
Munster expects 25-27 million iPhones in September and are currently modeling for the low end of his range at 25 million. He is slightly lowering iPhone expectations for September from 27.2 million to 25 million because of the slightly slower than expected iPhone 5 launch due to supply constraints. Munster believes that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could still have sold 8 million iPhone 5s in total (suggesting 3 million additional units sold following the 5 million weekend launch). If you assume other iPhone sales (3GS, 4, and 4S) were in line with the total iPhone sales last year at 17 million and add the ~8 million iPhone 5s, you reach 25 million.
Munster Remains Comfortable With 49 Million iPhones in December
While the supply issues for the iPhone 5 since launch are concerning in terms of the company’s ability to fully meet demand in December, Munster is staying with our 49 million unit estimate for the holiday quarter. He also notes the December 2012 quarter will have 13 weeks compared to 14 weeks from December 2011. All that said, he still believe that the smartphone market, which grew 42% in Q2 (IDC), will grow in the 30% range in Q4. Normalized for the extra week, we expect 42% y/y growth for iPhone, which implies slight share gain in line with previous product launch quarters. Thus, he remains confident in the demand picture for Q4. As noted above, if supply does not improve in the next 3-4 weeks, he may shift some December units into March.
Disclosure: No position in any securities mentioned