Monday, March 25, 2013

Apple: Sterne Agee Ups iPad Estimate, Dismisses Rumors of Cuts

Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu this morning writes that he’s been receiving questions from some Apple (AAPL) investors about rumored cuts in iPad production, inquiries he believes are “misplaced” given that the issue for the iPad appears to be supply of the “Retina Display” being limited, not anything about declines in demand.

“What we are picking up are strong follow-up demand trends for the new iPad despite a very strong start of 3 million units sold in the first few days,” writes Wu.

Wu thinks display supplies may improve, and he’s also unfazed by reports there may have been cuts in work hours at supplier Foxconn:

we anticipate supply to improve over the course of the next few quarters as additional production lines and suppliers are added. In addition, what could also be causing concern is news that Hon Hai Foxconn employees have had their individual working hours cut. This is not due to a slowdown in production but rather conforming to more sound labor practices where there will be a cap on overtime hours per month per employee. This is in an effort to improve working conditions. From our understanding, the irony is that many employees prefer to work more overtime.

Wu actually raised his estimate for iPad sales for fiscal Q2 that ended last month to 12.3 million from a prior 11.5 million. He sees the company selling 63 million units this calendar year, up from a prior 60 million estimate. That should produce revenue of $161.2 billion and EPS of $44.50 this fiscal year, up from a prior $160 billion and $43.80.

Apple shares today are down $1.45 at $626.99.


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