From a note to clients by analyst Daniel Ives that landed on my desktop Wednesday:
While the stock will be range bound, in our opinion, until Apple reports its final FY1Q (Dec) results on January 29 after the bell, all eyes will be on March guidance as the key swing factor for shares in the near term.
Taking a step back, US/China tensions have not helped Apple’s demand story in the field for its latest iPhone XS/XR product cycle, but to be crystal clear, we believe the primary driver of Apple’s demand doldrums come down to a mispriced smartphone with XR as the culprit in China and elongated upgrade activity within its installed base a clear headwind…
We continue to believe the services business, poised to exceed $50 billion in FY20, will be the ultimate driver for the next phase of the Apple growth story set to take hold over the coming years with 190 million to 200 million iPhones shipping in both FY19 and FY20 based on our new estimates.
In a nutshell, better execution, a more innovative product strategy, larger M&A around content/more services, and losing pricing hubris (e.g., $750 XR device) will need to take place in Cupertino with Cook’s chess moves over the coming months laying the groundwork to help get Apple out of its darkest chapter in the modern iPhone era.
Maintains Outperform rating and $200 price target.
My take: It will take more than three metaphors in a nutshell to spice up analysis this bland.