Shares of Apple Inc. fell another 3.8% Friday to end just under $510, after UBS analyst Steven Milunovich cut his price estimate to $700 from $780, citing concern that growth may slow for the iPhone and iPad.
Apple sank $19.90 to close at $509.79 on Nasdaq. At that price, the shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple have lost 27 percent since closing at a record high of $702.10 on Sept. 19.
Based on checks with Apple’s suppliers, Milunovich said that the company is starting to curb production of the iPhone. In China, the newest model of the handset, the iPhone 5, may not sell as well the previous version did, he added. At the same time, the iPad mini may siphon sales of Apple’s largest tablet, compounding growth concerns, Milunovich said.
“Our previous growth estimates seem aggressive,” Milunovich said in a research report Friday. He reduced his earnings per share projection for fiscal 2013 to $47 from $51.50.
In another sign that growth is slowing, Apple component suppliers have received order cuts in the last 24 to 48 hours, Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. wrote in a research report Friday.
The cost of Apple options relative to other technology companies has risen to a four-year high, reflecting concern the iPhone and iPad maker’s dominance may be threatened by rivals such as Google Inc. and Nokia Oyj.
Demand to hedge against losses in Apple shares has increased this year after Google made its first foray into the tablet market with its Nexus 7 device and Nokia rolled out new Lumia smartphone models to expand in Europe and Asia. The competition is hurting Apple’s earnings, with analysts predicting the slowest profit growth in a decade.
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