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How Apple Goes Lower From Here

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Preston Waters

Europe’s debt crisis is already casting a shadow on second-quarter reporting season and even Apple(AAPL) may not be immune.

JPMorgan analyst Mark Moskowitz lowered price targets on 18 names in the information technologyspace on Thursday, citing concerns over slowing technology spending in the EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Asia] region as well as by the U.S. government.

Uncertain growth in China and currency pressures also factored into the call. Moskowitz kept an overweight rating on Apple but lowered his December price target on the stock to $695 from $715.

Even though Moskowitz believes that Apple is “still in a league of its own,” he dropped his earnings and revenue estimates for the company’s June-ending quarter by 0.5% and 0.8% respectively, putting him below consensus on both counts.

He now expects Apple to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of $10.20 per share on revenue of $36.8 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled byThomson Reuters is for a profit of $10.33 per share in the quarter on revenue of $37.33 billion.

Despite the near-term earnings reductions, Moskowitz is extremely favorable on the iPhone 5 launch, which he expects in September.

“We think that a combination of revolutionary hardware enhancements and software-driven services (i.e., Passbook, Maps, FaceTime over cellular) stand to reaffirm the iPhone as the leading smartphone in C2013, which is why our out-quarter iPhone estimates are increasing after a slight downward revision for the September 2012 quarter,” he wrote.

Moskowitz also identified three key growth drivers for Apple: “low market penetration rates in tablets, PCs, China, and the enterprise, the relative growth prospects of its key end markets versus other tech segments, and Apple’s role in enabling the burgeoning social media/networking adoption curve.”

The other companies seeing their price targets cut were Dell (DELL), EMC (EMC), HP (HPQ), IBM (IBM), NetApp (NTAP), Xerox (XRX), Brocade (BRCD), Aeroflex (ARX), Lexmark (LXK), Emulex (EMLX), Fusion-IO (FIO), National Instruments (NATI), Orbitek (ORBK), Qlogic (QLGC), Seagate Technology (STX), STEC (STEC), and Western Digital (WDC).

Shares of Apple were off nearly 1% at $569.28 in late morning action.

The Street

Preston Waters

Preston Waters

Editor

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