Weak Apple iPhone 5 Sales 'Old News,' Stock to $800: Analyst
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
Reports of Apple slashing orders for iPhone 5 parts on weak demand is not a surprise, and Apple will still hit $800, a senior technology analyst for Jefferies told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Monday.
"It doesn't change anything; we think it's old news. We think all of these cuts happened in around mid-December," Peter Misek said.
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The Japanese financial news service Nikkei reported on Monday that the tech giant was cutting orders for LCD screen and other parts for its latest smartphone this quarter because the device was not selling as well as expected. Misek said Apple has been curtailing inventory production as levels stabilize with demand.
Misek said though iPhone 5 sales were impressive in the fourth quarter, the success of the phone just didn't carry over strongly into the first quarter.
"We look at it as a little bit of a letdown obviously. It's not great that this happened. We thought this device would be the biggest seller of all time and in fact we think around 50 million units sold in Q4, which would make it the biggest selling electronics product of all time in a quarter," Misek said. "But there were hopes that it would be better than that. There were hopes that in Q1 that sales would be flat and instead what we're getting is a seasonally type decline in Q1."
Misek said he expects iPhone 5 builds to be around 35 million to 40 million in the first quarter.
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Jefferies adjusted its expectations for Apple's stock from $900 a share to a price target of $800 a share in December when the information regarding the production cuts became available, he said. He added his firm has no plans to readjust its outlook on Nikkei's reports unless some new information came out regarding production cuts or other issues were uncovered.
"If we look at the full year out, we think that the company can do somewhere around $50 of earnings, remember they have $100 per share of cash. By the end of next year they'll have somewhere around $150 per share of cash," Misek said. "So what you are doing is you are actually buying a stock that effectively is $400 and we think at $50 earnings for the year that it is a cheap valuation."
Apple's stock will also be helped by new product launches this year and a possible deal with China's largest wireless carrier, China Mobile, Misek said. However, he said a deal with China Mobile is not included in his price target.