Monday, March 03, 2008

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): Comments from BofA & RBC

We have couple of firms out on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) this morning:

- BofA is lowering their tgt to $160 from $180 noting that given recent production data points from Asia, continued U.S. consumer weakness, and as a follow-up to their February 1st note (first discussed iPod production units), they are lowering iPod and iPhone unit estimates.They also lower their F2008 and F2009 EPS estimates.

Firm is lowering their F2Q08 iPod sales estimate to 9.97 million units (-5% Y/Y) from 11.08 million units (5% Y/Y) and iPhone sales estimate to 1.2 million units from 1.6 million units, due to continued production weakness. That said, gross margin upside near term could offset some of the unit weakness.

F2008 EPS estimates goes to $5.01 (consensus is $5.14) from $5.05 and F2009 goes to $5.97 (consensus is $6.29) from $6.17.

Maintains Buy.

- RBC Capital is out commenting on AAPL's 10M CY08 iPhone goal noting that estimated pending contributions from Smartphone market expansion, new iPhone versions (incl 3G), 3rd party applications, expanded global distribution, enterprise server integration, unlocked phones, in their view, will contribute to Apple shipping 11M iPhones CY08.

Mid-Q2/F08 checks and proprietary data from RBC's Tech Adopter Panel (3,600) point to healthy iPhone shipments (est 2.3M units) and strong Q2 Mac sales (est 2.2M). High-end iPods appear stable, with overall iPod sales (on low-end deceleration) expected at 10.8M, inline with street/seasonality (-51% Q/Q, 2% Y/Y). For Q2, they expect $7.2B revenue (up 37% Y/Y) and $1.08 EPS, above street at $7.0B and $1.05.

Reiterating Outperform and trimming target to $175 (from $200) on multiple revaluation.

Notablecalls: I think this serves to reaffirm my prev. view that at around current levels, the expected iPod (low end) deceleration, uncertainty regarding iPhone growth & general multiple revaluation is all priced in.

My gut tells me we MAY see a test of recent lows but this should be considered a buying oppy. Shorting AAPL here may be just a quick scalp trade (not going to take it).

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