That’s a real possibility, and a potential milestone for a three-month period during which the consumer electronics company has declined more than 28% from its 52-week high of $705. Apple‘s down about 1% in early trading today to $506, the lowest it’s been since February. Investors fear that iPhone 5 sales are short of expectations following reports, including several last week, that Apple has cut orders from its suppliers. That’s one reason Citi just downgraded Apple to “neutral” from “buy,” and cut the price target to $575 from $675. Although the reports from suppliers are “inconclusive,” analyst Glen Yeung says that they “bring into question the strength of iPhone 5 and refocus investors onto risks in the Apple story.” The company tried to reassure the market today, disclosing that it has sold more than 2M iPhone 5s in China in the three days after its December 14 launch there. “iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever,” it says. CEO Tim Cook adds that “China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.” Analysts also are watching to see whether the new iPad Mini cannibalizes sales of the larger iPad 4, and whether Apple tablets will lose a lot of market share to low-priced competitors including the Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7 and 10. The less expensive rivals are “driving the majority of incremental demand as compared to six months ago,” Yeung says.
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