Apple’s shares were inching lower in trading on Thursday (Sept. 29) after investment firm Barclays removed the stock from its “top pick” list but maintained its overweight rating on the stock.
Barclays cited declining smartphone industry trends for the action. "While we maintain a constructive view on the long-term Apple franchise value and think next year ushers in IP8 with revolutionary advancements, the stock could be overbought given how fundamentals may not be as strong," analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a note to clients, according to a report. "Our research indicates a recovery in global smartphone growth could be pushed out. Plus, conversations with industry participants suggest iPhone sales trends could be at risk of petering out in coming months, similar to last year's post-IP6S launch fallout."
The move on the part of Barclays comes at a time when analysts and investors are trying to gauge just how well the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are doing among consumers. When the devices were launched in early September, the four major telecom carriers rolled out aggressive upgrade programs, giving consumers access to a free iPhone 7 when they traded in their old one. That set off a frenzy with most of the telecom carriers, including T-Mobile and Sprint, talking about record preorders for the devices. Since then, conflicting reports have emerged about demand or lack of it, leading some to wonder what sales will end up looking like.
Also hurting Apple on Thursday is a Seeking Alpha report that implied Apple’s iPhone 7 is catching fire or exploding. The report linked to a Reddit thread in which someone claimed to have received a new iPhone 7 that was burned. If it turns out to be a real problem, it could be really bad for Apple given the cost and PR hit Samsung Electronics has been contending with since reports surfaced that its newest Galaxy 7 Note’s battery can catch fire.