Bond Guru Jeffrey Gundlach Slaps $425 Price Target on Apple
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares entered bear market territory on Wednesday, falling below $560 -- a more than 20 percent decline from the all-time high shares hit back in September.
Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach appeared on CNBC Wednesday. Gundlach said that, even down 20 percent, shares were likely to fall further and might not find support until $425 or so.
Gundlach's bearish thesis is nothing new. The fund manager made negative comments on Apple earlier in the year, noting that there was an extreme obsession with the stock, and that the “rainmaker” -- Steve Jobs -- is now gone.
Apple bears frequently point to the widespread ownership of Apple as evidence that the stock is exposed to downside risks -- potential future buyers are limited, as everyone already owns the stock, and should the share price fall significantly, there could be a “rush for the exits” wherein shareholders panic and begin to dump their shares.
There are other issues facing Apple, too. With the re-election of Obama in the U.S., taxes on capital gains may increase next year. As Apple has rallied significantly, many investors may be sitting on large, unrealized capital gains -- gains that might be better to take now when tax rates are lower, as opposed to waiting to some future date when capital gains taxes are higher.
Of course, there is no denying that Apple is an enormously profitable company with billions on its balance sheet. Yet, shares have run up significantly since the start of 2012, appearing to trade on momentum. The announcement, or anticipation of a new product or product refresh has propelled shares. But with the iPad Mini now available, and no significant refreshes seen on the horizon, the expectations that drove the stock higher have all but vanished.
Other factors may have lead to a loss of investor confidence in Apple.
Apple has always been known for the high quality of its operating systems. But the most recent incarnation of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 6, has called this assumption into question. The company was widely criticized for its poor maps application, which led to a publicly apology and the departure of iOS head Scott Forstall.
Interestingly, Forstall may have suspected that new challenges were on the horizon -- he sold almost all of his shares months ago.
Apple also axed John Browett, the head of retail.
Apple shares traded near $560 on Wednesday, down over three percent on the session.
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