Apple Is Cut To Neutral By Citi Because It Doesn’t Think iPhone 5 Demand Is Great

tim cook

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Apple is getting another price cut from a Wall Street analyst.

But this time, there’s a twist. It’s also getting its rating cut.

Citi’s trio of Apple analysts, Glen Yeung, Walter Pritchard, and Jim Suva, are cutting Apple’s price target to $575, and rating it neutral, down from buy.

Previously, Citi rated Apple as a buy because they believed there would be near term pop in stock on strong iPhone 5 sales. They no longer think iPhone 5 sales are going to be strong enough to prop the stock.

Last week UBS and Jefferies cut their price targets, but kept buy ratings.

All three banks are cutting their price target for essentially the same reason.

There are reports from Asian supply chain sources that Apple has cut orders for the iPhone 5 in the first quarter of the year.

These iPhone 5 order cuts are a mixed bag. Apple is naturally going to cut its orders following a holiday quarter. However, these cuts are bigger than expected.

Citi says, “Our checks suggest Apple has seen a 45-50% increase in monthly iPhone 5 production output October to December.” This improvement was better than expected for Apple, which is why it’s cutting its orders for the first quarter.

While it makes sense for Apple to cut orders, if its manufacturing partners are making more phones than it needs, Citi still sees it as a warning sign.

Basically, Citi thinks that if iPhone 5 demand was great then Apple would keep the machines cranking at full speed. The fact that it’s letting off the gas suggests demand is merely “good,” as opposed to “great,” says Citi.

It also says Samsung is still crushing it, which is a big risk for Apple.

In addition to the iPhone 5 concerns, Citi says the iPad Mini is outselling the bigger iPad, which is going to affect the top and bottom line for Apple.

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