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API Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

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Buy or Sell? Investors Await AAPL's Upcoming Earnings Report Before Deciding

NEW YORK, January 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

As Apple stock continues to slip below the $500 mark from as high as $700, investors await the company's earnings report next week to decide whether to buy or sell.

Amid speculation that sales of Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) [Full Research Report](1) iPhone are slowing down in favor of Samsung's Galaxy models, the popular handset still remains to be the favorite among North American consumers. However, this still did not prevent the 30 percent slip of Apple's stock price compared to the September figure posted last year.

Reports from Wall Street Journal and Nikkei indicated that Apple had cut its orders for certain components for the iPhone 5 due to weaker than expected demand. The company is said to have cut its orders for components like liquid crystal display screens and memory chips in roughly half of what it previously planned to order.

This indicates that Apple has indeed been hit by competition from rivals Samsung and other manufacturers of smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system. In addition, some analysts say Apple and its manufacturing partners had struggled with quality issues that might have affected production.

Stock then slid as low as $498.51 from a high of $702.10 in September last year, a number which has not been seen since February 2012. Consequently, a whopping $200 billion in market value has been lost in the process. Suppliers including Cirrus Logic Inc. were also affected by the reports, with a 9 percent slide.

As it plunged to those levels, value investors like LA-based RNC Genter were able to buy Apple stock, which could signal the transformation from growth stock to value stock. But as even these value investors are starting to worry, the question of whether to buy or sell stock is looming. With the earnings report due next week, it looks like many will make a decision soon.

Last year, Samsung overtook Apple to become the world's largest seller of smartphones due in part to the highly successful phone-cum-tablet Galaxy Note II and flagship Galaxy S3, as well as a much wider range of low- to high-end devices appealing to several markets. In comparison, the company from Cupertino rolled out only one smartphone last year, the iPhone 5.

Research firm Strategy Analytics expects this trend to continue, especially with Samsung's upcoming release of the Galaxy S IV in a few months. The Korean conglomerate is forecast to sell 290 million smartphones this year, against the projected 180 million in iPhone sales.

Meanwhile, the two companies have yet to wrap up patent issues against each other, with another lawsuit filed yesterday. The devices in question are both Apple's and Samsung's flagship offerings, the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, respectively.

Reference Links:

(1)  The Full Research Report on Apple Inc. - including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets - is available to download free of charge at: http://www.nationaltradersassociation.org/r/entire_report/aebe_AAPL

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