Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Apple (AAPL) to Sell

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Apple faces significant competition in most of its operating markets. The rise of feature-rich regional smartphones at a much cheaper price remains a major headwind.  The lower-than-expected demand from iPhone X given its expensive price tag is an overhang. Moreover, iPhone sales are also anticipated to be marred by the increasing replacement cycle of smartphones. Besides, Apple is entangled in various legal battles over its mobile and tablet products. The company’s revelation of software updates slowing iPhones with older batteries last December resulted in an uproar among its users. However, Apple’s focus on developing innovative products in order to generate new revenue streams is positive. Shares of Apple have slightly outperformed the industry in the past year. Estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s Q2 earnings release.”

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Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. UBS set a $190.00 target price on Apple and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, January 5th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $205.00 target price (up previously from $200.00) on shares of Apple in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded Apple from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $195.00 to $170.00 in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. HSBC set a $204.00 target price on Apple and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, Vetr raised Apple from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $184.49 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, March 5th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating, thirty-two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $203.21.

AAPL stock opened at $174.14 on Wednesday. Apple has a 12-month low of $140.45 and a 12-month high of $183.50. The company has a quick ratio of 1.20, a current ratio of 1.24 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74. The stock has a market cap of $874,962.88, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.91, a PEG ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.25.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The iPhone maker reported $3.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.82 by $0.07. Apple had a return on equity of 37.37% and a net margin of 21.13%. The firm had revenue of $88.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $87.62 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $3.36 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 12.7% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Apple will post 11.37 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, SVP Daniel J. Riccio sold 17,375 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $169.12, for a total value of $2,938,460.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 66,191 shares in the company, valued at approximately $11,194,221.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Philip W. Schiller sold 69,491 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $166.42, for a total value of $11,564,692.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.08% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AAPL. University of Texas Investment Managment Co. bought a new position in Apple during the 4th quarter valued at $114,000. FNY Managed Accounts LLC boosted its stake in Apple by 852.4% during the 2nd quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC now owns 800 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $115,000 after purchasing an additional 716 shares in the last quarter. Private Vista LLC bought a new position in Apple during the 2nd quarter valued at $122,000. Santori & Peters Inc. bought a new position in Apple during the 4th quarter valued at $149,000. Finally, Crow Point Partners LLC boosted its stake in Apple by 100.0% during the 3rd quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC now owns 1,000 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $153,000 after purchasing an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.36% of the company’s stock.

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Apple Company Profile

Apple Inc (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings.

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