Apple shares slip after report of weak production

Analyst points to lower iPhone, iPad production volumes; Apple shares slip

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Apple Inc. slipped Monday after another analyst report pointed to pullbacks in the production of iPhones and iPads.

THE SPARK: Brian White at Topeka Capital Markets said his checks with Apple's Taiwanese and Chinese suppliers point to their sales to Apple declining 31 percent in February from January, much worse than the average 8 percent seasonal decline. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the company that assembles the iPhone and iPad, had a 25 percent decline in business, he said, also worse than in previous years.

Apple had no comment on White's report. But Apple CEO Tim Cook cautioned analysts in January about drawing conclusions from short-term trends in the supply chain.

THE BACKGROUND: White's report comes after several analysts have cut their estimates for Apple sales, saying demand has been weakening as competitors gain share. The iPhone is too expensive for most consumers around the world, and there are few indications that Apple is willing to make a cheaper model. Meanwhile, iPad sales are shifting toward the cheaper Mini model.

Together, the iPhone and iPad accounted for 76 percent of Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's revenue in the latest quarter.

SHARE ACTION: Apple shares fell $3.40, or less than 1 percent, to $428.32 in afternoon trading. The stock has lost 39 percent of its value since the all-time high of $705.07 hit in September, and the shares are now close to their 52-week low of $419, hit a week ago.

White has a price target of $888 on Apple shares.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 0.2 percent.

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