Analysts retreat on Apple with shares near $500

Analysts pull back from Apple targets as once-$700 stock flirts with $500

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street analysts trimmed their expectations for Apple Inc. on Monday as the stock, worth just over $700 three months ago, dipped close to $500.

Apple shares hit $501.23 in morning trading, the lowest level since February. It recovered in the afternoon, trading at $513, up $3.21 from Friday's close.

Michael Walkley at Canaccord Genuity cut his iPhone and iPad sales forecasts for the next two fiscal years (which end in September) because of weak international sales, mainly in economically troubled Europe. He sees Apple planning lower iPhone shipments in the first three months of the year, possibly because there's a new iPhone model arriving in June. He also believes the new iPad Mini will take a bigger cut than expected from sales of bigger and more expensive iPads in the holiday season.

Walkley cut his price target on the shares from $800 to $750 but kept a "Buy" rating, saying Apple is well positioned for the long term.

Abhey Lamba at Mizuho Securities cut his price target to $600 from $750 while keeping a "Buy" rating for much the same reasons.

On Sunday Citi analyst Glen Yeung cut his rating for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to "Neutral" from "Buy," questioning the strength of iPhone 5 demand and saying that it's unlikely Apple shares will rally any time soon.

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