Apple’s shares (AAPL) are down Thursday morning, following a negative report from Barclays Capital’s Ben A. Reitzes.
The analyst, who in a note to investors this morning compares Apple’s current valuation to that of Microsoft (MSFT) from 2000 to 2010, suggesting AAPL may stick close to trading range for the next year due to a maturing smartphone market, said that he sees “no precedent” that large-size tech companies simply start to broadly outperform again after a tough year or two if the law of large numbers is catching up to them and margins have peaked.”
Reitzes cut his rating on the Apple stock to ‘Equal Weight’ with a continued “neutral” outlook for the company from ‘Overweight’, while maintaining a $570 price target, writing that “[f]rankly, we just couldn’t quite bring ourselves to use smart watches or TVs as reasons to raise numbers – nor were we fully convinced that these products could move the needle like new categories did in the old days,” and that as a consequence, “hares may stick close to a trading range for the next year or so.”
Reitzes had an ‘Overweight’ rating on Apple for 10 years.
The analyst also said that while he is excited about several iPhone products in Apple’s pipeline, with potential innovations in mobile payments, geo-location, and lifestyle-wearable devices, he thinks the tech giant is lacking a high-impact product.
“Apple’s story is all about iPhones and “new categories” seem to be designed to make the iPhone more useful – but don’t necessarily re-accelerate growth in the iPhone category to sustainable double-digit levels,” he writes. “If we were to see evidence that payments and/or new content deals enhance the Web services aspect of Apple vs. Google and others long-term, we may need to reassess this opinion.”
Shares of Apple are trading lower by $7.80, or 1.32%, at $530 following the downgrade.