Pro Eyes ‘Good Growth’ in Bruised Apple Shares
Apple shares have shed roughly a quarter of their value since hitting $705 in September, but one analyst still sees growth opportunities for the tech company, particularity in the smartphone market.
The stock has plummeted amid investor worries about its gross margins and its long-term growth prospects following the iPhone 5 release, the latest installment of the company's popular smartphone. (Read More: Defying Growth Concerns, iPhone Sales Soar in China)
"But we do think at the valuation here, (it's) still a good growth company," said Mike Walkley, managing director and communications technology analyst at Canaccord Genuity. "We have a 'buy' still on the stock, but we did lower our price target."
Walkley lowered his target to $750 from $800 in a recent report. This forecast is based on a 13 times multiple of fiscal-year earnings per share estimate for 2014.
"Basically on our checks we have seen the iPad mini cannibalize the iPad 4 more than we initially thought, so that's really where we cut some of our numbers," he said.
He added that the iPhone, which accounts for less than 20 percent of the smartphone market share, still has growth opportunities ahead as it faces competition from lower-priced offerings and phones that operate on Google's Android operating system.
Following the launch of the iPhone 4s, Walkley said store surveys showed a tapering off of Samsung sales. But these checks now show that Samsung has "held in there" following the iPhone 5, which he said has "been of surprise for us" and suggests that consumers like the Samsung model's larger screen and innovation.
In Canaccord Genuity's research note, analysts mentioned that reduced iPhone 5 orders for the March quarter could indicate an earlier launch of an iPhone upgrade in the June quarter. Walkley thinks Samsung could also release the Galaxy 4 smartphone earlier than expected.
"As these two titans get more and more aggressive with product cycles, we think it could be good for both companies and the industry," he said.
—By CNBC.com's Katie Little; Follow her on Twitter
Disclosure: Canaccord Genuity is a market maker or liquidity provider in the securities of Apple.