Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) German listed shares were marked lower in early Frankfurt trading Wednesday after analysts at JPMorgan said weakening iPhone X demand would hit the bottom line of European suppliers to the world's biggest tech company.
JPMorgan lowered its rating on AMS AG (AMSSY) , a key supplier which produces optical sensors for smartphones, to neutral from overweight and said that weakness in orders for Apple's flagship iPhone X would likely persist into the second half of the year. Shares in the Austria-based group slumped 7.58% in early European trading to change hands at €78.04 each.
Other stocks in Apple's European supply chain weakened in early trading, with STMicroelectronics NV (STM) falling 3% in Paris to €19.45 and Dialog Semiconductor plc (DLGNF) , which is listed in Frankfurt, falling 3.61% to €24.82.
Apple's German-listed shares were marked 1.51% lower in the opening hour of trading in Frankfurt and changing hands at €143,800 for 500 units while its main U.S. listing was quoted 0.22% higher from its Tuesday close in pre-market trading, indicating an opening bell price of $177.43 each.
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The JPMorgan note is the latest in a string of analysts reports questioning the pace of iPhone X demand and the impact it will have on the company's fiscal first quarter earnings on Feb. 1
Apple forecast sales of between $84 billion and $87 billion for the three months ending in December, the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, a figure that came in at the high end of analysts' forecasts and put to rest speculation of production bottleneck and technical snags related to the much-anticipated launch of its iPhone X.
Apple also shifted 46.7 million iPhones over the quarter that ended in September, the company said, topping Street forecasts of 46.4 million, although average selling prices slipped to $618, continuing a declining trend. Still, net income rose 18.8% to $10.71 billion and expects is gross margins for the first quarter to improve by 5 basis points to 38.5%
Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell lowered his rating on Apple to neutral from overweight yesterday, but kept his price target at $190 a share, noting that while the December quarter showed robust iPhone X demand, that momentum may not persist into 2018.
"We believe a major component of the likely strength in the December quarter versus consensus is the fact that iPhone X supply improved much more quickly than we (and the Street) had anticipated," Cordwell wrote. ""This better than anticipated supply means that a greater proportion of demand was able to be served in the December quarter, leaving March quarter expectations (which were predicated on significant pent-up demand) for ~20% iPhone unit growth now looking somewhat aggressive (~20% iPhone unit growth)."
Last week, Longbow analyst Shawn Harrison said the anniversary edition of the iPhone, which has a list price of $999, has seen "lukewarm" reception from customers and called the current cycle of overall iPhone sales "good, not great." Harrison also clipped his earnings per share estimate for the world's biggest tech company by 29 cents to $11.25 and pegged his fiscal year shipment forecast at 233 million units. Longbow's rating on the stock was reduced to "neutral" from "buy."
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