Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) received a price target cut from JPMorgan on Thursday and on Friday received a second one, this time from RBC Capital Markets. Analysts from multiple firms are slashing their iPhone unit estimates as skepticism about the upcoming iPhone 7’s ability to recapture growth grows. Despite the increasing bearishness, analysts generally still see Apple stock as a Buy.
RBC trims Apple stock price target
In a report dated June 17, RBC analyst Amit Daryanani said he trimmed his price target for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock by $5 to $115 per share. He also maintained his Outperform rating on the stock.
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Aside from the iPhone unit number debate, a related area analysts are watching is the length of smartphone replacement cycles, which have been elongating from 24 months. Daryanani said he is now modeling 31-month replacement cycles, up from the 28 months he was previously assuming for the average replacement cycle, through the iPhone 7.
The RBC analyst also noted that the iPhone SE appears to be doing well, which of course is a double-edged sword. While it may boost unit numbers for Apple, it also means that the average selling price of the iPhone declines. Daryanani actually expects a higher mix of the iPhone SE to cut the average selling price by 20% to 25%, which is quite a bit.
He also built greater “conservatism” around the iPhone 7 cycle into his model.
Apple stock “attractively valued”
He thinks Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is still “attractively valued,” however, and he expects Apple’s gross margins to recover in the next couple of quarters and boost the company’s earnings per share.
The analyst also added that he still believes the success of the iPhone should be judged in two-year rather than one-year cycles. However, he also acknowledged that the iPhone 7 cycle is expected to be different than past numbered, non-S cycles because Apple is expected to save the next set of major upgrades for next year’s model. Daryanani continues to refer to next year’s iPhone model as the iPhone 7s, although many analysts are now referred to it as the iPhone 8.
He also pointed out that he’s not factoring in the rumored iPhone 7 “Pro” model, which could also be released this year. We’ve been hearing rumors about a “Pro” iPhone model for a while. Daryanani explained that while a “Pro” version wouldn’t necessarily mean Apple will sell more iPhones, it would probably boost the average selling price.
JPMorgan also cut AAPL stock price target
Earlier this week, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall cut his target for Apple stock further than Daryanani cut his. JPMorgan’s target went from $125 to $105 per share, although he also still rates the iPhone maker at Overweight. Interestingly, he increased his average selling price estimate for the iPhone to $659 in fiscal 2016 and $646 in fiscal 2017. Daryanani, on the other hand, expects the ASP to head toward $633.
Hall also included additional assumptions in his report this week. He reduced his Apple Watch estimates as well, and he now estimates that the smartwatch will have only a 7% penetration rate of its addressable market by the end of 2017, which is a significant reduction from his previous assumption of 15%. His Apple Watch unit number plunges from 11.9 million in fiscal 2016 from 23.5 million previously.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares declined by as much as 1.87% to $95.73 during regular trading hours on Friday, possibly as a result of the patent ruling in China where the company was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus