Standpoint Research Downgrades Apple to Hold (AAPL)

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was downgraded by stock analysts at Standpoint Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday, Stock Ratings Network reports.

The analysts wrote, “=Back in September, the Apple share price hit $700. It looked as though they were going to knock out their competitors and maybe justify that share price and market capitalization. The problem is that they knocked a few competitors down … BBRY, NOK, HPQ, DELL, Samsung … but never knocked anyone out … big difference…My guess is that Apple eventually will come back towards the pack ($300 bln) as opposed to separating itself further from the pack. $700/share last year was probably as good as it will ever get for Apple. There was an over-reaction in April when shares dropped below $400 and I got what I was looking for … a 15%-20% bounce off that over-reaction low point.”

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded up 1.28% on Friday, hitting $462.54. Apple has a 1-year low of $385.10 and a 1-year high of $705.07. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $424.9. The company has a market cap of $420.2 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.39.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 23rd. The company reported $7.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $7.28 by $0.19. The company had revenue of $35.32 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $35.01 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $9.32 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Apple will post $39.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Zacks upgraded shares of Apple from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to investors on Friday. They now have a $480.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Apple in a research note to investors on Thursday. They now have a $450.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $405.00. Finally, analysts at Scotiabank raised their price target on shares of Apple from $423.00 to $510.00 in a research note to investors on Thursday, July 25th.

One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating, forty-three have issued a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $539.05.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 12th will be given a dividend of $3.05 per share. This represents a $12.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.64%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 8th.

In other Apple news, Director Millard S. Drexler dumped 32,562 shares of Apple stock on the open market in a transaction dated Monday, July 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $449.11, for a total value of $14,623,919.82. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) 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.

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