More bad news for Apple: iPhone is weakening overseas, claims analyst

$250 billion has been wiped off Apple's market cap since November 1, which, to put it into context, is more than the market cap of Verizon.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

When Apple announced during its earnings conference all back at the beginning of November that it would no longer provide unit sales data for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, analysts and investors took the news pretty badly.

Since November 1, $250 billion has been wiped off Apple's market cap, more than the entire value of Verizon or Procter & Gamble.

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And things don't seem to be getting much better. Even reassurance from an Apple executive that the iPhone XR is selling well hasn't really helped things.

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson thinks there are problems in the future for Apple.

"While we are not seeing evidence of iPhone unit weakness in our domestic iPhone user survey, reduced expectations from multiple component suppliers are likely a sign that global unit uptake has not met expectations," Olson wrote in a note to clients, as reported by CNBC. "Based on this, and despite what appears to be a solid domestic uptake of iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, we are slightly lowering our iPhone estimates in fiscal 2019 and 2020."

As a result Olsen has cut his 12-month price target to $222 from $250.

Olsen is putting the finger of blame on overseas sales because Piper Jaffray's own US surveys suggest interest in upgrading is as strong as it was last year.

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"Data points from various component suppliers suggest iPhone units are tracking below plan, but our domestic survey of over 550 iPhone owners shows similar upgrade rates versus our 2017 survey."

Piper Jaffray is the latest in along list of firms - from Goldman Sachs to UBS - to trim its expectation for Apple stocks.

Apple has gambled that it can wean investors off unit sales and instead focus on revenue, so if it can deliver strong revenue confidence might return. But if revenues are also soggy this quarter, things could get a lot worse for Apple.

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