Apple Inc. (AAPL): Why Analyst Views May Not Mean Much

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Whenever you’re talking about a hot stock like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), everyone has an opinion, and analysts are no different. The company has risen through the ranks of analyst admiration, and now it is beginning to fall, according to Bloomberg data pieced together by Bespoke Investment Group.

Apple Inc. (AAPL): Why Analyst Views May Not Mean Much

Analyst Coverage Of Apple

The data indicates that in 2000, just a few analysts were actually covering Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but now there are 68 of them covering the stock. But it isn’t just the number of analysts who are covering the stock that has changed. It appears as if analysts are slowly beginning to change their views of the company.

In late 2010, 94 percent of the analysts who were covering Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rated the stock as a buy. Currently 75 percent of them have a buy rating on the stock. Of course 75 percent is still pretty good for the majority of stocks, but as you can see, it’s pretty low compared to where analysts were on the stock just a few years ago. It’s also the lowest level since 2009 when the market as a whole was especially bearish during the financial crisis.

Concerns About Apple Shares

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit their all-time high of $705 per share in September, but this year they’ve been trading below $500 per share for much of the year. Also analyst target prices for shares of Apple have fallen off significantly. The average target price is now $534, compared to $780 per share last fall when the stock hit its peak.

So how much of the company’s stock price is due to analyst views, and how much of it is due to the weighing effect it’s having on the S&P 500’s IT sector? The company did guide low for its second quarter earnings per share estimates.

But the bottom line is that there will always be Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fan boys and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doubters. It’s interesting to see which set of analysts affects the others more, and this could shift again with the company’s next earnings report.

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