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- Apple’s price target was cut by more than 12% to $175 at Wedbush Securities on Wednesday.
- Demand headwinds are creeping into Apple’s growth story but the overall picture is more resilient than Wall Street is seeing, the firm said.
- Analyst Dan Ives said Apple “should remain a Rock of Gibraltar name into 2023.”
Apple‘s price target was yanked lower at Wedbush Securities on Wednesday, but upcoming iPhone sales are seen blunting demand worries that contributed to pulling the stock under a $2 trillion market valuation.
Shares of Apple tacked on about 2% on Wednesday following their 3.7% drop on Tuesday after a report from Nikkei said demand is weakening for MacBooks, AirPods, and Apple Watches. That fall wiped out more than $80 billion in market value and left Apple below a $2 trillion market cap, tough it’s now back above that threshold.
Fears of a softer holiday December quarter on China supply shortages hurt shares as trading got underway in 2023, said Wedbush on Wednesday. It cut its price target on Apple by 12% to $175 from $200 and held onto its outperform rating.
Analysts said Asia supply chain checks “are clearly mixed” heading into the next few quarters and Apple appeared to be cutting back on some orders for Macs, iPads, and AirPods to reflect a softening consumer environment.
“That said, the core iPhone 14 Pro demand appears to be more stable than feared and is still coming out of the supply chain abyss seen in November/December due to the zero-Covid lockdowns in China/Foxconn,” wrote analyst Dan Ives. “While March and June could see some cutting of iPhone orders (iPhone 14 Plus remains a major strikeout), we believe the overall demand environment is more resilient than the Street is anticipating and thus we believe baked into the stock is a massive amount of bad news ahead.”
Wedbush said Apple remains its favorite tech name, and Apple’s March quarter should benefit from demand for iPhones after roughly 8 million to 10 million units were pushed out of the December quarter because of supply chain issues.
Meanwhile, Apple’s underlying demand story still has more than 200 million iPhone units that haven’t been upgraded in about four years. Also, the upcoming iPhone 15 is expected to be released in the autumn alongside an augmented reality/virtual reality headset dubbed Apple Glasses.
The new $175 price target reflects a more base-case valuation in an uncertain environment with some demand headwinds starting to creep into Apple’s growth story, said Ives. On a sum-of-the-parts valuation, however, Wedbush continues to believe $200 is the right valuation for Apple reflecting its core services business.
Apple stock slumped by 26% slump in 2022, hit in part by ongoing supply chain problems in China and a ramp-up in interest rates that hammered large-cap tech stocks as a whole. The Nasdaq Composite ended 2022 with a loss of 33%.
“While tech stocks remain enemy #1 on the Street now in the rising rate environment/hawkish Fed, Apple remains the laser focus of the tech bears as this name has held up much better than the rest of the beaten down tech sector over the past year,” said Ives.
“To this point, we believe Apple has a unique installed base demand story that can withstand the Category 5 macro pressures around the corner better than its tech peers and should remain a Rock of Gibraltar name into 2023.”