Morgan Stanley joins the chorus of Apple price target cuts: ‘China smartphone market to blame’

Morgan Stanley slashed its price target on Apple to $236 a share from $253 a share on Friday, citing a weak market in China for iPhones because people are taking increasingly more time to replace their old phones.

The “China smartphone market to blame … for recent weak iPhone data points,” Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty said in a note to investors. “China is following in the footsteps of the US with replacement cycles lengthening.”

“Our recent meetings in Asia highlight a weakening China smartphone market, especially at the high-end where suppliers have seen order cuts across most vendors,” Huberty added.

Apple shares fell 0.7 percent in premarket trading. The stock is firmly in a bear market, down more than 25 percent from recent highs. Wall Street defines a bear market as a fall of more than 20 percent from a stock’s 52-week high.

Morgan Stanley joins a number of Wall Street firms cutting expectations for Apple’s stock: Goldman Sachs (on the lackluster international reception of the iPhone XR), Guggenheim Partners (on declining iPhone unit sales next year), UBS (on warnings from suppliers and weak overseas sales), HSBC (on over-dependence of a single product) and Rosenblatt Securites (on a lowered iPhone shipment estimates).

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