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Is Apple Capitulating?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has received more than its fair share of criticism from Wall Street in recent days, and Monday is no different. That may be a sign that capitulation is starting to happen though.

CLSA analyst Avi Silver downgraded shares to "outperform" from "buy," lowering his price target to $505 from $575. Silver cited weaker iPhone trends as the primary reason why Apple's shares have been so weak recently. Shares of the tech heavyweight have fallen 18.9% year to date, and more than 38% since the iPhone 5 went on sale.

Silver cut his earnings estimates for fiscal year 2014 to $46.62 a share from $51.71, but noted that he expects to see an uptick in new products later this year to help Apple return to growth. "Following a Jun-Q product lull, we expect new products (including iPhone mini) to expand Apple's emerging markets offering and return Apple to EPS growth in C2H," Silver wrote in a note.


This is the same story Apple investors have been hearing recently. Credit Suisse recently cut its earnings estimates on Apple on iPhone concerns, citing competition from Samsung, and the inevitable product refresh later this year. The iPhone 5S is expected later this year, according to recent rumors.

Citi and Barclays Capital also cut earnings estimates last week for essentially the same reasons. Citi is worried about both the iPhone and the iPad, while Barclays is more worried about the iPhone.

"Indications of reduced demand to Apple's suppliers contribute to our existing concerns that end demand for 10" iPad and iPhone5 in particular is softening, reflecting share loss by Apple in both the tablet market and the smartphone market," wrote Citi's Glen Yeung in a note. He cut iPhone estimates for the second quarter to 34 million units from 35 million, with the third quarter staying at 25 million units.


Barclays' Ben Reitzes cited Samsung as a factor for his estimate cuts. "Given our checks in the supply chain and factoring in increased competition from Samsung, we are lowering our iPhone forecast," he wrote. He cut iPhone estimates for the March quarter to 35 million, down from 36 million, with the full year at 150.8 million units.

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