Despite a strong iPhone 3G launch, Apple (AAPL) stock is getting knocked around today — down 2.3% to $169.86. Why? CNBC credits the drop to “reports… that margins may not be what they had hoped for the coming quarter.” We think they’re talking about a Morgan Keegan research note, issued yesterday, in which analyst Tavis McCourt whacked his gross margin estimates for the June quarter, fiscal 2008, and fiscal 2009.
Specifically, McCourt thinks Apple’s sales will continue to be strong, but margins are “likely to be down significantly” year-over-year because of new/refreshed products — which he doesn’t really explain — and because component prices have gotten more expensive — 2 gigs of DRAM, he notes, now cost about $44; in March, it was $40.
McCourt trimmed his June quarter gross margin prediction to 33.8% from 34.0%; his fiscal 2008 prediction to 33.5% from 33.7%; and his fiscal 2009 prediction to 32.6% from 34.4%. But his new revenue forecasts — $7.5 billion for Apple’s June quarter; $33.35 billion for fiscal 2008; $42.45 billion for fiscal 2009 — are all above consensus.