Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs to be more open with investors if it’s going to repair its stock price, according to analysts at Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC). But will the company that’s been known for secrecy ever do it? In a report to investors this morning, Barclays analysts listed 10 things they believe investors want to know. They say if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would be more open about these things, its stock could get a boost.
- Profit margins – Barclays analysts point out that Apple might plan on rerating its gross margin level to the low 30 percent range from last quarter’s 38 percent range. In their view, every gross margin point accounts for approximately $1.40 in earnings per share power. They’re looking for “some relatively basic commentary” about how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can keep its gross margins up.
- Cash return – Everyone’s aware of the hubbub surrounding Apple’s cash return policy. The company’s been mum about it since March 2012, so it’s time for more information, especially in light of all that extra cash the company is sitting on.
- Phablets – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been keeping the size of its iPhone the same, much to the dismay of consumers looking for a larger screen. Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) analysts predict Apple could finally give investors an answer about where it stands on releasing a 5-inch phone next week.
- Ecosystem – One of the things that has made Apple’s products so successful is the stickiness of its ecosystem, so investors may be wondering if the company has anything up its sleeve in this arena. More than one analyst believes mobile payments may be the next step for Apple in terms of its stickiness.
- China concerns – Attacks from the Chinese state-run media have resulted in an apology and Apple’s agreement to change its warranty policies in the country. But will it be enough to keep Chinese consumers buying Apple products? Investors want to know what else the company is doing to smooth things over there.
- Retail stores – Retail chief Ron Johnson left the company for a disastrous tenure at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) more than a year ago. Now that he’s out, some speculate that he will return to Apple, and Barclays analysts stop just short of agreeing. They simply say that the company needs a strong leader to “ensure the retail stores do not lose the ‘cool’ factor. It’s possible that Johnson would fit the bill.
- iTV – Of course the odds of investors learning more about the iTV that’s supposedly in the works next week are rather slim, but there’s enough evidence that indicates Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is heading in that direction. Investors undoubtedly want to know what the company’s doing before they’ll put their money in.
- Better execution of product launches – The analysts point to shortages of the iPhone 5 and the fact that new adapters weren’t ready on time as a concern that some investors may have. They also mention Apple’s mapping app, which didn’t appear to have been tested enough, and the limited supply of the iPad Mini at launch. These supply issues are fairly new in the company’s history, so they are a cause of concern for investors. After all, the company can’t sell products if those products aren’t ready, and consumers may not wait to purchase if they are ready when the company said the product would be. They may simply buy something else.
- Enterprise – They point out that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has hired some talent which indicates it could be pushing into the enterprise sector, but it hasn’t been very aggressive about doing so. They also said job listings indicate the company is hiring for more positions aimed at the enterprise area, but Apple hasn’t said anything about it. “Articulating a $300 billion revenue opportunity better wouldn’t be a bad idea,” the analysts wrote.
- Business model information – And finally, Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) analysts predict that Apple might start giving out operating data so that investors can gain a better understanding of the value of its installed base. If investors can understand the company’s loyalty metrics, then its stock value could see a boost.
So will Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) every get over its secretive practices and learn how to share? This is a lot of information, so maybe the company will start small.
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As of the moment of this writing, shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were up 1.53 percent from the price at opening bell.