Apple hit seven-week low after Barclays cut demand | The Express Tribune

Apple fell nearly 3.6% to a seven-week low on Tuesday after Barclays downgraded shares of the world's most valuable company on fears that demand for its devices from iPhones to Macs will remain weak in 2024.

Barclays is the second brokerage to have the equivalent of a “sell” rating on the stock, according to LSEG.

The stock makes up 7% of the market weight of the S&P 500 – the broader index was down 0.56% on Tuesday. Apple is up nearly 50% in 2023, hitting a record high in mid-December during a year when Big Tech led the markets.

Apple has been battling a slowdown in demand since early last year and forecast sales for the holiday quarter below Wall Street estimates. Its performance in China is also a concern following the resurgence of local rival Huawei.

“iPhone 15 was not stellar and we believe iPhone 16 should be the same,” Barclays analyst Tim Long said in a client note, pointing to weakness in China as well as lower demand in developed markets.

Long is rated four out of five stars for the accuracy of his recommendations on Apple, according to LSEG data.

The brokerage also warned that risks are rising for Apple's services business, which has come under the scanner in countries including the United States over its app store practices.

The business has often outpaced growth in Apple's hardware segment in recent years and now accounts for nearly a quarter of the company's total revenue.

Tuesday's stock drop wiped more than $100 billion off Apple's market capitalization as its shares closed at $185.64.

Barclays downgraded the stock to “underweight” from “neutral” and lowered its 12-month price target by $1 to $160. Until Tuesday, Itau BBA's “sell” was Apple's only bearish rating since July 2022.

Analysts on average rate the iPhone maker a “buy,” with an average price target of $200. The company trades at about 28.7 times its 12-month forward earnings, well above the S&P 500's 19.8.

Reporting by Aditya Soni and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguly, Krishna Chandra Elluri and Pooja Desai