On paper, Apple should be riding high: it has billions in cash; three new products rolled out in as many months, and just scored a major public relations boost by announcing it was moving part of its production back to the United States.
Now try telling that to traders, who are bolting from the tech giant's stock just as fast as they can hit the sell button. Its stock has cratered into bear market territory, shearing more than $150 billion in value off its market capitalization in the last several trading sessions.
While not quite the "Annus Horribilis" to which England's Queen Elizabeth once referred, it has certainly been a week to forget for Apple.
Analysts have blamed Apple's swoon on a host of factors –the looming "fiscal cliff", an unexpected change in margin requirements, and technical trading factors – but two key reasons appear to be rising to the top of Apple's list of woes.
The tech giant is certainly cash rich, with CEO Tim Cook projecting gross margins of 36 percent for the current quarter.
Yet some observers worry that much of its future profits will rely on its lower-priced items such as the freshly minted iPad Mini,triggering what experts euphemistically refer to as margin compression –earning more money on cheaper products.
That could impair its ability to earn money on its higher-end devices, such as the regular iPad and Mac computers.
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"Growth is slowing and the margin is likely to compress," noted Internet analyst Henry Blodget, who runs the Business Insider website, told CNBC earlier this week.
"That's the big thing that worries me, is that they're going togo to a lower margin mix of products especially as the iPad Minitakes off," he added. "It's hard to see the stock really rise inthe face of a compressing margin."