Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is now solidly below $500 this morning as the stock's Felix Baumgartner-like free fall continues. Along the way, analysts covering the stock have eaten enough crow to feed a small village.
Back in September when the Apple was peaking, analysts were routinely upping their price targets to stratospheric levels. Sixty-five analysts cover AAPL, the largest number for any stock, and heading into the fourth quarter, their average price target was above $780.
While the stock has now fallen 30% down to $492, the average analyst price target has only fallen 6.6% down to $728. This leaves a huge spread of 32% between Apple's (AAPL) current price and its average price target. As shown in the second chart below, the spread between Apple's price and its average price target is now at its widest level since the depths of the financial crisis back in early 2009. The big difference between now and then, however, is that the entire market was plummeting in early 2009. These days, only AAPL is plummeting.
The gaping hole between Apple's price and its average price target is now the biggest of any stock in the S&P 100, and it's not even close. As shown below, the next closest stock is Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), whose stock is 24.5% below its average analyst price target.