Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): Cracks appear in resiliency?

Want to highlight some analyst chatter following Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Q4 results:

- CSFB says not to shoot the messenger, but they not feeling any better on macro pressures. They don’t believe upside in a seasonally optimal quarter should relieve concerns over weaker demand trends for the entire hardware sector in early 2009. Our conservatism on demand, more limited opex leverage, and the iPhone shortfall lead to an outlook that is likely to be seen as conservative.

Upside not flowing through estimates. For fiscal 2009, they are looking for revenues of $33.16 billion and EPS of $4.89, versus previous estimates of $33.36 billion and $4.88. Firm's non-GAAP estimate for calendar 2009 stands at $5.67 versus $6.02 previously.

Apple remains CSFB's top PC pick, but near-term remains tough. On an excash basis, the stock is trading at 10.7 times earnings. They believe longerterm investors should continue to build positions in Apple on weakness. Near-term, particularly in the March quarter, they expect the entire IT hardware sector to come under pressure.

- RBC reits their Underperform rating and $70 tgt noting cracks appear in Apple's resiliency - Apple shipped 2.5M Macs (RBC 2.5M), down 3% Q/Q in Apple's strongest qtr, despite refreshed Macbooks. More scary is the 22% Q/Q decline in Desktops, revealing sharply slowing consumer demand. US growth dropped from 26% Y/Y F08 to 5%. iPhones at 4.4M decelerated 37% Q/Q, below 5M street (RBC 4.5M). iPod US growth was 3% Y/Y.

Growth and Margin Downshift. Headline Q1 results were less worse than investors feared, however with F09 Macs growth at est 4% vs 38% F08, iPhones slowing, iPods saturated, we see a growth 'downshift' for Apple, positioned as premium-priced amidst a worsening global recession (Proprietary RBC/Changewave data points to more deterioration ahead). iPhones are coming off a 3G product cycle without similar catalysts F09, and intensifying competition. Margins may also decline.

Extra' Cautious Outlook below Street. Guidance for $7.6-8B rev. and $0.90-1.00 EPS was below already-lowered street ests at $8.2B, $1.13 on 'extra' conservatism, with Apple acknowledging reduced visibility. Apple reaffirmed 2H/F09 30% GM guidance. Apple's traditional low guidance/high beat may be at risk, given nominal product catalysts, deteriorating demand, lower margins.

Notablecalls: Is good execution in a tough environment enough for AAPL stock to hang on to it's 10+ pt gap-up? I sure have my doubts.

2 comments:

Win said...

NC,
I think we're close to coming full circle, from quite ridiculously bullish analyst estimates to quite bearish estimates. I think the market (in the next month or so) just might surprise us -- and I believe AAPL's strength today (in the face of the market) is interesting.

The HardHead said...

Having making my bi-annual visit back to the good ole USA - I inspected (78) Best Buys in North and South Carolina. To my surprise this weekend (Jan 24/25) the low end MacBook and the high end Macs were out of stock at 44 stores. Also, the iTouchs were out of stock at 39 stores. Strange 4 weeks after Xmas.

I live in Asia and iTouch's are sold out within 2-3 days of every shipment.

The problem with PC sales - the new models shipped way after the start of school season. HELLO APPLE MANAGEMENT - DUH!

The street never has gotten Apple correctly the past 3 years. I'm looking for a major run if next report beats the street again. Plus, it is time for a new product release.

Don't forget that +25 Billion in cash! Soon Obama may be coming to Apple for a bail out.

HH