The Street this morning has come to the conclusion that Apple is a no-growth company: Pretty much every analyst is projecting no growth in EPS this year, at best, with many seeing a decline in EPS.
More than that, analysts were left rather befuddled by the change in Apple’s forecasting approach, discussed extensively on the conference call last night, which now offers a range of revenue values, instead of a single number, for the quarter, and no profit projection. Price targets are going down across the board.
There are at least two downgrades, that I can see, one from Scotia Capital’s Gus Papageorgiou, who cut his rating to Sector Perform from Outperform, and one from Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek, who cut the stock to Hold from Buy.
Nomura Equity Research’s Stuart Jeffrey reiterates a Neutral rating, writing that the company is “Starting the ex-growth era.” However, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, while cutting his price target to $888 from $1,111, reiterates a Buy rating, writing that he still expects EPS growth this year, projecting $56.99 per share, versus a prior $58.92, which is still quite a bit above the average estimates now around $42 or so.
As if the report wasn’t humbling enough, Gartner late yesterday reported that Samsung Electronics (005930KS) has surpassed Apple as the top buyer of semiconductors in the world, purchasing $23.9 billion in components last year, ahead of Apple’s $21.4 billion, versus prior-year purchases of $18.6 billion for Samsung and $18.8 billion for Apple.
PS: I beat the analysts to it. I posted in the past few days prior to earnings cc that Apple would not show growth for at least 3 quarters. Very unfavorable y/y comparisons. Apple sounded shell-shock that it announced no more specific guidance from now on, just a range perhaps...
CEO Tim Cook sounded downright defensive about his "performance".