Apple at $400: Share price sinks to new lows, but does it matter?

Summary:A weaker than expected outlook for the third quarter is hitting Apple's share price hard. Analysts are no longer looking at the firm's potential to hit $1,000 a share price, but instead wondering how low it can go.

Apple's share price has plummeted below the $400 a share mark earlier today, after a recent spate of negative analyst opinion over its coming fiscal third quarter outlook.

In late morning trading, Apple dipped below the December 30, 2011 mark, close more 5 percent down from its opening price of $425, but began to stabilize out again in early afternoon trading.

Here's what it looked like:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 13.43.35
$AAPL trading close to 5 percent down during midday trading. Image: Google Finance

In just seven months since its peak at $700 a share mark in mid-September 2012, Apple has lost more than 40 percent of its market cap. It even reached a point where by any time Apple chief executive Tim Cook said anything, the company's price would drop during or immediately after.

Earlier this week, Piper Jaffray analyst and part of the Apple faithful Gene Munster cut his estimates and price targets for the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant.

Since then, Cirrus Logic cited weaker than expected revenue ahead of Apple's company's second quarter earnings next week. The firm makes analog and audio chips for the iPhone and iPad. As a result of its poor revenue forecast, it suggested that Apple was cutting supplier demand for its iOS-powered devices.

Consumer demand is shrinking. Of course it is. It's a by-product of a popular device that everyone wants, or wanted at the time. We just don't know how much yet.

For the current March quarter , Citi analysts expect Apple will sell 1 million fewer iPhones than expected, and during the June quarter the consensus is down to 25 million from 32 million. 

The market is already saturated with iPhones and iPads, but also the product launch cycle is about to kick back into gear. ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes noted that there are more than 320 million iPhones in the world already. Compare this to the iPad, where the profit margin is lower than the iPhone, and there are still more than 120 million iPads on the market.

Not everyone wants to jump on the new shiny rectangle that heads out the door by the technology giant. And those that do don't immediately jump. Many, in fact, hold onto their devices for multiple release cycles and upgrade from two devices back — say the iPhone 4, skip the iPhone 4S, and buy the iPhone 5.

But the figure of Apple's share price could be more overblown than we think. Here's why.

Apple's stock was hammered during its first quarter earnings report in January. It fell from around $520 to $440 in the matter of hours. The trouble is for Apple watchers is that the company reported record iPhone sales, booming profits and huge revenues.

But because the company missed expectations made by analysts -- a jumbled figure of subjective analysis that doesn't actually determine anything -- Apple took a swift kick to the financial stones.

Apple will report its second quarter earnings on April 23.

Corrected headline at 14:15 a.m. ET.

Topics: Apple, iPhone

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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