Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to deliver its fiscal first-quarter results next week. And while all expectations are for a somewhat disappointing report, any comments about the next couple of quarters could be slower than anticipated, according to analyst Wamsi Mohan, of Bank of America.
Mohan, who has a neutral rating and per-share price target of $153 on Apple (AAPL), noted that the revenue decline for the company’s March quarter could be as much as 20% higher than anticipated.
“The tone on the call will be crucial to understand the underlying demand trajectory given the [December quarter] was significantly supply constrained for the higher end Pro models of iPhones,” Mohan wrote in a note to clients. Mohan added that his iPhone tracker shows that device availability has normalized “and leads us to conclude that demand could be softer than expected in [the first-half of 2023].”
A consensus of analysts expect Apple (AAPL) to report quarterly earnings of $1.96 per share and $122.05B in revenue on February 2.
Mohan slightly lowered his earnings per share estimate for Apple’s (AAPL) 2023 fiscal year. Mohan now expects Apple (AAPL) to earn $5.73 a share, down from a prior forecast of $5.82 a share. However, Mohan gave a slight increase to his revenue forecast, and now believes Apple (AAPL) will report sales of $389B for the year, up from his earlier estimate of $383B in revenue.
Mohan also said the first half of the year is likely to be challenging for Apple (AAPL), due in part to a weaker iPhone cycle, both from a supply and demand point of view. And questions remain about the second half of the year given the weakness in the economy and the next iPhone being launched, as well as the company’s upcoming mixed reality headset, which is expected to debut sometime later this year.
In November, Apple (AAPL) warned that disruptions out of China related to the country’s COVID-19 issues would impact iPhone 14 Pro shipments. Since then, China has eradicated its COVID-19 restrictions and is reopening its economy.
On the bright side, if Apple (AAPL) were to see a re-acceleration in services, due to the improving backdrop for video games and stability in advertising, that would be a “net positive,” Mohan added.
Other positives could be a lower impact from foreign exchange, the continued reopening of China and progress on vertical integration, as Apple (AAPL) continues to bring more components in-house.
Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank trimmed its 2023 estimates for Apple (AAPL) ahead of the iPhone maker’s fiscal first-quarter earnings release.
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