Goldman: No 'super cycle' for Apple as iPhone X demand is ‘weakening’

  • Goldman Sachs initiates coverage for Apple shares with a neutral rating, predicting the smartphone maker will report sales below expectations for the June quarter.
  • "We see downside to consensus iPhone revenue forecasts in the June quarter and believe shares are unlikely to outperform while risk of estimates revisions remains," the firm's analyst writes.
Lightbox advertisement of IPhone X at a bus station. iPhone X will be on sale in China on Nov. 8th, 2017.
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images
Lightbox advertisement of IPhone X at a bus station. iPhone X will be on sale in China on Nov. 8th, 2017.

Apple shares are not likely to beat the market as iPhone sales will disappoint again, according to Goldman Sachs.

The technology giant reported weaker-than-expected December-quarter iPhone unit sales on Feb. 1. The company also gave a lower-than-expected revenue forecast for the March quarter.

Goldman initiated coverage for Apple shares with a neutral rating, predicting the smartphone maker will report sales below expectations for the June quarter.

"We balance our positive view on longer-term iPhone revenue growth … with weakening near-term datapoints on iPhone X demand, which we think will likely weigh on shares ahead of the FQ2 earnings report," analyst Rod Hall wrote in a note to clients Tuesday entitled "Not so super cycle keeps us on the sidelines." "In particular, we see downside to consensus iPhone revenue forecasts in the June quarter and believe shares are unlikely to outperform while risk of estimates revisions remains."

Hall started his price target for Apple shares at $161, representing 1 percent downside to Tuesday's close.

The analyst predicts the percentage of iPhone users upgrading their phones will decline to 35 percent in fiscal 2018 and 33 percent in fiscal 2019 from 36 percent in fiscal 2017.

"Beyond June, we see a path for earnings and share price improvement, but believe investors will look for confidence that estimates have bottomed, which may not occur until FY19," he wrote.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.