Rosenblatt Securities is the latest firm to list a sell rating on Apple. That’s five now, of the 57 tracked by Bloomberg. That’s the most sell ratings on Apple since 1997. Bloomberg’s Ryan Vlastelica reports:
Skepticism surrounding the company has accelerated in 2019, with all five of the sell ratings coming in this year. Both New Street Research and HSBC lowered their ratings on the stock to sell in April, and in January, the number of firms with buy ratings dropped below 50% for the first time since 2004.
The caution has been largely driven by uncertainty surrounding demand for the company’s critical iPhone line, with the U.S.-China trade war seen as a particular headwind. In January, Apple cut its revenue outlook for the first time in almost two decades, in large part because of iPhone weakness. Apple’s third-quarter results are currently expected to come out on July 30.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, more than 60% of Apple’s 2018 revenue was related to the iPhone, while 20% came from China, which is also a critical part of its supply chain. Last week, Citi wrote that Apple’s China sales “could be cut in half” due to “a less favorable brand image desire.”
Rosenblatt’s downgrade came as analyst Jun Zhang expects the company “will face fundamental deterioration over the next 6-12 months,” based on disappointing sales trends. The downgrade pushed Apple stock lower by as much as 1.9% in Monday trading.
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