Shares of Apple dipped Wednesday on growing expectations that the consumer technology company will sell fewer iPhones next year than previously thought.
In a note to clients Wednesday, Bank of America cut its estimate for fiscal 2016 iPhone shipments by 10 million, to 220 million, pointing to a weakening among Apple’s suppliers.
In another note, Raymond James lowered its estimate for 2016 iPhone shipments to 224 million from 229 million, also pointing to lackluster expectations at Apple suppliers. And Tuesday, Baird Equity Research trimmed its 2016 iPhone forecast to 234.7 million from 243.8 million, implying 1.5 percent growth over 2015.
Reflecting growing doubts about future iPhone sales, shares of Apple have fallen 4.4 percent in the past month and are down about 18 percent from record highs in April. The shares are among the most widely held in America and are highly sensitive to any change in consumers’ appetite for iPhones. Apple makes most of its profits from smartphone sales.
In the latest hints of weakness among Apple suppliers, Imagination Technologies said Tuesday that softness in the overall semiconductor industry and smartphone market meant its operating profit would be lower than expected for the rest of its fiscal year.
That mirrored weakness at German peer Dialog Semi, which also cut its outlook, citing softer-than-expected demand for chips used in mobile phones such as the iPhone.
“Though we always take supply chain comments with a hefty grain of salt, the Baird semiconductor team recently suggested a 20 percent cut in procurement orders based on its supply chain conversations,” Baird analyst William Power wrote in a note to clients.
Reflecting increasing bets by Wall Street against Apple, short interest edged up to 1.9 percent of the company’s outstanding shares at the end of November from 1.3 percent midway through the month, according to Nasdaq data.
Morgan Stanley said in a note Sunday that it expects iPhone unit sales to drop 6 percent in the 2016 calendar year as higher prices in markets outside the Americas, excluding China, and maturing smartphone penetration in developed markets weigh on upgrades and new user growth.
After falling Monday and Tuesday, Apple shares managed to inch out of negative territory most of Wednesday to end regular trading at 111.34, a gain of 0.8 percent. That is well off the stock’s high of $134.54 on April 28.