It appears that Wall Street is still suffering from an Apple hangover.
Apple yesterday posted itsand got hammered for it. Now it's the morning after, and investors are continuing to run for the hills. Shares are down more than 10 percent to $460.76, wiping nearly $50 billion off of its market value.
The results themselves weren't bad. In fact, they were quite good: record sales of iPhones and iPads, nearly $55 billion in revenue and $13.4 billion in profit.
But investors aren't looking at how Apple did, and instead are more interested in how it will do. It's here where the legitimate concerns of slowing growth begin to pop up. In particular, a new policy on a supposedly more accurate estimate range for revenue suggests that Apple won't be blowing away its projected numbers in the coming quarters.
"We believe the reason Apple is doing this is to more aggressively manage Street expectations in an effort to prevent wildly out of consensus thinking," said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.
Look at CEO Tim Cook's tenure over the last few quarters: the company has been doing anything but beating expectations. The last few months have seen investors readjusting their expectations of the company, realizing that its tremendous growth trends may be at an end.
Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron issued a note titled "Just one of the guys," and said that people will need to start seeing Apple as just another high-flying technology company -- good for everyone else, but a disappointment relative to the stellar and dominant run it has had over the past few years.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek was more direct, downgrading his rating on Apple's stock, noting that the slowdown in demand for the iPhone "is real and material." Also worrisome was the belief that the company's once high level of profitability would continue its slide.
Apple executives, meanwhile, didn't really help their case on yesterday's conference call with analysts. In answering a question on where Apple sees market share in the high-end smartphone market, Cook responded by saying the company only cares about making good products -- an answer that seemingly elicited a laugh from the analyst. Cook appeared to dance around questions about future demand and how Apple would respond to the competition's aggressive rollout of larger phones.
While Apple dodging questions is par for the course, the lack of answers amid heightened scrutiny of the company is unlikely to spur optimism among investors whose confidence is already shaken.
Still, while the tone among analysts has been negative this morning, there are still many who keep their "buy" rating on the stock, with many suggesting that the current sell-off may present a buying opportunity for investors looking for a bargain.
"The medium-term risk-reward is attractive," said Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, although she noted that in the immediate future, she doesn't see much upside. But she, like many other analysts, are banking that a new line of products in the summer will provide a much-needed catalyst for growth.
It's the question of whether Apple can deliver like it used to that has so many investors scratching their heads.
Updated at 7:28 a.m. PT: to include an updated stock quote after the market opened.
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