Apple Gets Third Downgrade in 2024, iPhone Sales Decline in China
Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Apple Gets Third Downgrade in 2024, iPhone Sales Decline in China

Apple's shares fell 0.5% at the market open Wednesday after the stock faced a third downgrade since the beginning of 2024.
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

After Barclays and Piper Sandler, analysts at Redburn-Atlantic are the latest group to downgrade Apple’s stock (NASDAQ: AAPL) in 2024. Citing limited growth potential for iPhone and a gloomy outlook for the March quarter, the strategists trimmed the stock’s rating to Neutral from Buy. 

Three Downgrades in 10 Days

It’s been ten days since the onset of 2024, and Apple’s shares have already been downgraded thrice.

Redburn-Atlantic is the lastest one to join the list of bearish analysts on the iPhone maker. Notably, the broker’s analyst downgraded AAPL to Neutral From Buy while reiterating the price target on the stock to $200.

Though the iPhone is expected to return to growth this year after a series of sales declines in 2023, the upside potential for the flagship smartphone seems limited. In addition, the analysts voiced their concerns about a sluggish March quarter for Apple, which could, in turn, weigh on the growth prospects.

“We are downgrading Apple to Neutral while retaining our $200 YE24 price target. While we expect the iPhone to return to growth in CY24, we see little room for upside over the next few years, and an anticipated underwhelming March quarter could impact confidence in this outlook.”

Also, the strategists said that growing regulatory risks could prevent Apple from monetizing its ecosystem effectively. 

Redburn-Atlantic’s move comes just days after Barclays analysts reduced the rating on the stock to Underweight, with a price target of $160. On January 4, Piper Sandler also downgraded Apple from Overweight to Neutral, cutting its price objective from $15 to $205. 

Apple’s China Sales Plunge 30% in the First Week of January

The three consecutive downgrades on Apple’s shares come in the wake of slowing demand for the company’s hardware lineup, most importantly iPhone.

On Monday, Jefferies analysts revealed in a note to investors that iPhone sales in China fell over 30% year-over-year for the first week of January. In the meantime, its key competitors in the country, Xiaomi and Huawei, have “remained much stronger” with flat sales compared to a year ago. 

Moreover, the strategists believe that Apple’s iPhone volume will plummet by double digits in 2024 in China, citing expectations of an “even higher revenue pressure” in the company’s most important non-US market. Apple’s shares are down 1.5% since the start of the year, sitting at $184.22 when writing. 

Do you think Apple is still a buy? Let us know in the comments below.