Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Clyde Motevirgen Tuesday afternoon cut his rating on Apple (AAPL) to Hold from Strong Buy. He lowered his target price on the stock to $110, from $123, and reduced EPS estimates for the company: the S&P analyst now sees FY 2009 EPS of $5.25 a share, from from $5.65; for FY 2010 he goes to $6.15, from $6.74, on more modest Mac sales expectations.
“Our downgrade follows a sharp rally in share prices and reflects our concern that macroeconomic headwinds will contribute to weaker earnings over the next few quarters,” he writes. “We believe AAPL will gain market share in the computer and handset markets, and see planned product refreshes and iTunes aiding results. But we think slower desktop and iPod shipments will limit FY ‘09 sales growth.”
Apple, which earlier Tuesday provided a look at some of the new features of the next version of the iPhone operating system software - details in my live blog coverage - Tuesday is up $4.24, or 4.4%, to $99.66. The stock has now rallied almost 20% in six sessions.