Apple Shares Slip on iPhone 5 Supply Shortages

Apple Inc. launched the iPhone 5 to great fanfare last month, but supply of the latest smartphone was tight in that final week of the quarter, and a growing number of analysts believe it may remain that way in the current period.

Apple AAPL -0.20%   shares have slipped about 8% since the Sept. 21 launch of the iPhone 5, and were down about 1.8% to $632.79 on Thursday afternoon.

The recent slip came after U.S. wireless carrier Verizon VZ +2.37%   reported third-quarter results, saying that it activated about 3.1 million iPhone units during the quarter, which included about 651,000 units of the iPhone 5. Read: Verizon profits rise on strong wireless growth.

“We had supply constraints,” Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said on a conference call Thursday morning.

Apple had already disclosed global sales of about 5 million units of the device on its opening weekend. Most analysts expected the company to ship between 8 million and 10 million iPhone 5 units before the end of the September quarter.

But while many had projected that delayed iPhone 5 sales would be pushed into the December period, continued reports of tight supply has raised worries that the constraints may last into early 2013.

“We reiterate that if supply does not improve by the end of this month, there is supply risk to our 49 million iPhone estimate for December,” wrote Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray in a note following the Verizon report, adding that “any reductions to December estimates would largely be reallocated to March.”

Another analyst, Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets, lowered his iPhone shipment estimates for the December period by 4 million units to 46 million, in a note issued before the Verizon report. Bachman also trimmed his price target on Apple’s shares to $730 from $750.

“For the December quarter, we believe the revenue outlook will be very conservative owing to iPhone 5 supply constraints and guidance will be materially below our/consensus estimates,” Bachman wrote.

Apple will report results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended in September next Thursday…

Read more: Dan Gallagher, Market Watch

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