Apple (AAPL) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Apple shares have vastly outperformed the S&P 500, in the past one year. The company is benefiting from steady iPhone sales, spurt in Services segment and a resurgence in Mac and iPad sales. The company is anticipated to benefit from the strong demand of iPhone X in mature markets, which will help it to sustain momentum in the near term. Going ahead, we believe foray into fast-growing technologies like autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence (AI) & AR/VR are long-term drivers. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, the new iPhone X at $999 is quite pricey, particularly for cost sensitive markets like India. Intensifying competition from cheaper Chinese handset-makers remains a concern.”

AAPL has been the topic of several other research reports. Vetr raised Apple from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $173.06 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, September 22nd. Rosenblatt Securities reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $150.00 target price on shares of Apple in a report on Sunday, October 15th. Citigroup reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $200.00 target price (up from $170.00) on shares of Apple in a report on Friday, November 3rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. UBS Group set a $190.00 target price on Apple and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, December 4th. Finally, Bank of America reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $180.00 target price on shares of Apple in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, forty-one have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $198.70.

Apple (AAPL) opened at $174.29 on Monday. Apple has a 52 week low of $118.21 and a 52 week high of $177.20. The company has a quick ratio of 1.23, a current ratio of 1.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The stock has a market capitalization of $894,860.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.97, a PEG ratio of 1.43 and a beta of 1.23.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The iPhone maker reported $2.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.87 by $0.20. Apple had a return on equity of 36.29% and a net margin of 21.09%. The company had revenue of $52.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $50.71 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.50 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.2% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts expect that Apple will post 11.18 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, insider Eduardo H. Cue sold 65,361 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $171.60, for a total transaction of $11,215,947.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Johny Srouji sold 10,368 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $174.68, for a total transaction of $1,811,082.24. Following the sale, the insider now owns 81,560 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,246,900.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 128,412 shares of company stock worth $22,115,155 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.06% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AAPL. Partners Capital Investment Group Holdings LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 7.5% during the first quarter. Partners Capital Investment Group Holdings LLC now owns 163,764 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $23,526,000 after purchasing an additional 11,408 shares during the last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Apple during the first quarter valued at approximately $370,000. Gareth Morgan Investments Limited Partnership lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 43.8% during the first quarter. Gareth Morgan Investments Limited Partnership now owns 197,228 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $28,334,000 after purchasing an additional 60,041 shares during the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Apple during the first quarter valued at approximately $4,591,000. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 12.0% during the first quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,147,427 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $164,839,000 after purchasing an additional 122,762 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 60.17% of the company’s stock.

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Apple Company Profile

Apple Inc (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings.

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