Apple Stock Facing Slowing Growth, Analyst Opines

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is under pressure, with one Wall Street analyst warning that the company’s stock is facing tough times. The analyst, who is late to the artificial intelligence (AI) arena, recently sought assistance from Google for its AI endeavors. Disappointing data shows that iPhone shipments in China have declined by 37% year-to-date, adding to Apple’s problems. Since late January, the stock has lost more than $20 in value, a sign of trouble ahead.

Maxim Group analyst Tom Forte is pessimistic about Apple’s stock, calling it “dead money” for the foreseeable future. He is not recommending that investors sell the stock, but he does not expect it to move much higher. He has set a modest price target of $178 for the next year and maintains a “hold” rating on Apple.

The analyst’s gloomy outlook is based on Apple’s heavy reliance on the Chinese market, which accounts for 18.9% of its revenue. With iPhone sales in China slowing due to government pressure, Apple is facing a major challenge, given that the iPhone is responsible for the majority of its operating profit. While the company has had some success in growing its services revenue, declining hardware sales and increased regulatory scrutiny around the world are making it difficult for Apple to grow. This could hurt both sales and the stock price in the short and long term.

Analysts expect Apple’s earnings to grow at a modest rate of about 10% per year over the next five years. While this growth rate is respectable, Apple’s current price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of over 26 suggests that it may not be enough to justify the stock price. Given that Apple is a high-quality, high-margin company, a price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio of 2.5 seems high unless iPhone sales rebound.