Zacks Investment Research Lowers Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday, January 8th.

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.”

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on AAPL. Nomura set a $175.00 target price on shares of Apple and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Instinet downgraded shares of Apple from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $175.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Loop Capital reissued a buy rating and issued a $200.00 target price on shares of Apple in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. UBS Group set a $190.00 price target on shares of Apple and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Finally, Vetr downgraded shares of Apple from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $178.70 price target on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, November 23rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating, thirty-six have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $202.53.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) traded down $7.28 on Monday, hitting $160.50. 85,436,075 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 29,740,000. Apple has a 1-year low of $128.16 and a 1-year high of $180.10. The stock has a market capitalization of $788,300.00, a P/E ratio of 16.51, a P/E/G ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 1.33. The company has a current ratio of 1.28, a quick ratio of 1.23 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The iPhone maker reported $3.89 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.82 by $0.07. Apple had a net margin of 21.13% and a return on equity of 37.84%. The business had revenue of $88.29 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $87.62 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $3.36 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts forecast that Apple will post 11.14 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, February 12th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, February 9th. Apple’s dividend payout ratio is currently 25.93%.

In other news, insider Eduardo H. Cue sold 65,361 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $171.60, for a total value of $11,215,947.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Johny Srouji sold 10,368 shares of Apple stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 completion of 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 sold a total of 128,412 shares of company stock worth $22,115,155 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.08% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AAPL. Blue Sky Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in Apple during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $108,000. Hefty Wealth Partners raised its position in Apple by 27.6% during the 2nd quarter. Hefty Wealth Partners now owns 804 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 174 shares during the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC raised its position in Apple by 852.4% during the 2nd quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC now owns 800 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 716 shares during the last quarter. Private Vista LLC purchased a new position in Apple during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $122,000. Finally, Armbruster Capital Management Inc. raised its position in Apple by 9.4% during the 2nd quarter. Armbruster Capital Management Inc. now owns 911 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $131,000 after buying an additional 78 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 60.26% 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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