Apple Inc. fell after suffering a rare downgrade as Bank of America warned of weaker consumer demand.
The world’s most valuable company has proved a haven for investors this year, outperforming fellow mega-caps and the wider tech gauge amid a steep selloff driven by recession fears. The $2.4 trillion company has fallen only 16% in 2022, compared to the near 30% declines for the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 Information Technology Index.
But Apple’s dominance is at risk, at least for now, BofA warned.
With consumer spending expected to cool across regions, BofA analysts led by Wamsi Mohan downgraded the recommendation to neutral from buy. The analysts said demand for Apple’s services has already slowed and product demand is likely to follow, pressure from a stronger dollar will only add to its woes.
While “Apple’s long-term prospects remain favorable,” BofA expects negative estimate revisions and valuation risks in the near-term.
The stock fell 2.1% in premarket trading, extending losses from Wednesday after a Bloomberg report said that Apple is backing off plans to increase production of its new iPhones this year after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize.
The report confirmed analyst production estimates and bullish brokerages pointed to the demand in the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro line as a positive for the tech behemoth.
Meanwhile, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Barton Crockett, who had a neutral rating on the stock since initiating coverage in April, raised his recommendation to buy, citing “substantial interest in Apple’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max and Ultra watch.”
“We see reason to believe that consumers in other countries share this enthusiasm, prompting us to embrace more constructive near-term and long-term estimates,” Crockett said.
Apple has 37 buys, 10 holds and two sell recommendations, according to Bloomberg data.