Despite investors' positive response to Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) new product launches, including the feature-packed iPhone 11, not all are so impressed. One Wall Street bear now says that weak preorder data on the iPhone 11 could spur a 30% drop in the stock, which has rebounded 40% year-to-date (YTD) after falling in late 2018 along with the major market pullback.
Weak Preorders for iPhone 11
Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang estimates that initial weekend preorders were about 20% lower for the iPhone 11 Pro/Max and 15% lower for the iPhone 11 versus the comparable models last year, as outlined by Barron’s. He attributed his data to analysis of wait times and checks with retailers. Apple’s new phones with faster processors, better cameras and improved battery lives were available on preorder last Friday and will hit retail stores on Sept. 20.
Zhang and other skeptics, including analysts at Goldman Sachs, say that Apple is unlikely to make up for any weakness in the iPhone, which still accounts for roughly half of sales. The Rosenblatt analyst reiterated his $150 price target on Apple, reflecting a more than 32% downside from Tuesday close.
Concerns Over Apple TV+
While many are upbeat on the strength of Apple’s burgeoning services businesses, the bears say it still isn’t enough to fill the iPhone's gap. Last week, Goldman slashed its Apple price target on concerns about the pricing of Apple TV+, per Bloomberg. Analyst Rod Hall lowered his price target to $165, indicating that a trial period for the tech giant’s new on-demand streaming service presents a “material negative impact” to Apple’s earnings per share (EPS).
The iPhone maker responded to Goldman in a statement to CNBC that said, “We do not expect the introduction of Apple TV+, including the accounting treatment for the service, to have a material impact on our financial results.”
The view of Zhang, one of five analysts with a sell rating on the stock, goes directly counter to those who see recent data as indicating healthy iPhone sales and have bullish forecasts for Apple. Those on the more optimistic side include Nomura Instinet, writing that iPhone 11 preorders are “off to a good start,” as cited by Barron’s.