Apple Inc’s stock market value fell sharply on Tuesday following its steep drop last year and putting it on track to end below $2 trillion for the first time since March 2021.
The sell-off comes a year after the iPhone maker became the first company to reach the $3 trillion market capitalisation milestone.
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Apple’s shares fell 4 percent to $124.60 after Exane BNP Paribas analyst Jerome Ramel downgraded the company to “neutral” from “outperform”, slashing his price target to $140 from $180, according to Refinitiv Eikon.
Ramel cut his iPhone shipment targets for fiscal 2023 to 224 million units from 245 million units, reflecting supply chain issues from manufacturer Foxconn and consumers cutting back spending on high-end phones.
At Apple’s current stock price, the company is worth $1.98 trillion, just ahead of Microsoft Corp, valued at $1.78 trillion.
Underscoring investors’ worries that a slowing global economy and high inflation may be hurting demand for Apple devices, analysts, on average, expect the Cupertino, California company to report a 1 percent drop in the December-quarter revenue in coming weeks, according to Refinitiv. That would mark Apple’s first quarterly revenue decline since the March quarter of 2019.
“They (Apple) tend to skew to the high-end consumer device customer but even that demographic might be being affected by the high price of everything,” Bokeh Capital Partners’s Kim Forrest said.
Last year’s steep sell-off on Wall Street punished tech-related heavyweights as investors worried about rising interest rates dumped stocks with high valuations.
The combined stock market value of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Meta Platforms now accounts for about 18 percent of the S&P 500, down from as much as 24 percent in 2020.
Even after its 27 percent drop last year, Apple has provided stellar returns to long-term shareholders. Investors who bought and held Apple shares when co-founder Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007 have enjoyed a gain of more than 4,000 percent, not including dividends, compared with a 180 percent gain in the S&P 500 over the same period.