Market Overview

3 Apple Stories Circulating Before Earnings

3 Apple Stories Circulating Before Earnings

The investors and the analysts are eagerly anticipating what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will say in its second-quarter earnings report, which is set to be released on April 26.

Before that, investors should look at three stories related to Apple circulating in the market.

A Wall Street Journal report said China shut down Apple's online book (iBooks) and movie services (iTunes Movies) in the country, a move to bring web content in line with Beijing's stringent guidelines for traditional media.

"We see the immediate impact of this as immaterial. However, the importance of the Chinese market for Apple combined with an eventual goal to sell more content (our opinion) makes this a hurdle that we would expect Apple to want to surmount with the Chinese regulators over time," Rod Hall of JPMorgan wrote in a note.

Meanwhile, those betting on strong sales of iPhone SE should look at a recent report published on Times of India that showed Apple has increased prices of iPhones in India, with a hike as steep as 29 percent for iPhone 6, to boost sales of iPhone SE.

The report said iPhone SE received a poor response and "managed to sell only a few thousand units". In India, though the 16GB version of 4-inch iPhone SE made its debut at Rs 39,000, a similar specked (16GB) version of iPhone 6 is available at Rs 31,000 and 6S at Rs 40,500, the report added.

"After the revision, iPhone 6 costs Rs 40,000 and 6S comes for Rs 48,000. We are trying to build a healthy buffer," the report said citing a source.

Although Apple website's retail prices for the iPhone 6 and 6s are unchanged, Hall said prices on e-commerce sites and retail stores keep fluctuating as consumers are offered discounts to keep sales going.

"This may illustrate that Apple has underestimated the price gap needed between product tiers and particularly between a lower tier device like the SE and other products. We note that a move up in price on the higher tier products would suggest an unwillingness to compromise on margin in the SE in our opinion," Hall noted.

On a positive front, the Indian government may exempt Apple from the mandatory sourcing norms, paving way for the operating of its own brick-and-mortar retail shops in India.

"While this change was generally expected we see further supportive reports as good news for Apple's retail launch in India," Hall said.

At time of writing, shares of Apple were down 0.39 percent at $105.24.

Latest Ratings for AAPL

Mar 2019CitigroupReiteratesBuyBuy
Mar 2019WedbushMaintainsOutperformOutperform
Mar 2019NeedhamUpgradesBuyStrong Buy

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