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Citigroup sees iPhone, iPad demand softening

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Citigroup analyst on Wednesday cut his price target on Apple shares, saying checks with the company's suppliers point to weakening demand for iPhones and iPads as competitors gain share.

Analyst Glen Yeung cut his price target on Apple shares from $500 to $480. That's still well above the current market price. Apple shares dropped $4.77, or 1.1 percent, to $426.37 Wednesday. The shares hit a 52-week low of $419 on Monday, 40 percent off the record high of $705.07 from September.

After a year of being the world's most valuable publicly traded company, Apple's value is now just below that of Exxon Mobil Corp.

Yeung said he doesn't expect a new iPhone to launch until September, so the pullback in demand for parts is most likely not due to clearing out inventory before the new model. He now expects Apple to report shipping 34 million iPhones in the quarter ending this month, down from his previous forecast of 35 million.

He also cut his forecast for iPad and iPad Mini sales to 18 million units from 20 million, and also trimmed his outlook for the quarter ending in June.

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

Yeung cut his earnings forecast for the current quarter by 50 cents, to $9.23 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect $10.21 per share.