Investors continued to hammer Apple after it made clear yesterday that it will continue to try to keep profit margins high on its iPhones, and not release a budget-priced model that might help it expand into developing markets. Shares dropped 5.4% to $467.83 today following downgrades from firms including Bank of America, UBS and Credit Suisse. On top of yesterday’s price drop, it translates into a $34.8B decline in the company’s market value since Monday. While investors love the iPhone’s high profit margin, estimated at about 40%, they also wanted the company to go after new buyers overseas, especially in China and India, who might be enticed by a device that costs about $400 (not including a carrier subsidy). Instead, the 5C came with a $549 price tag in the U.S., and about $733 in China. A budget phone was “nowhere to be found” as Apple maintained its focus on “profit share over unit share,” with the 5C expected to generate margins of about 50%, says Cowen and Company’s Timothy Arcuri. Hopes for a big deal with China Mobile at an event today also came to naught: China certified the new iPhones to run on the company’s network, but so far there’s no deal. At an event today the companies played a video of yesterday’s iPhone unveiling in California. But Apple still has fans, including billionaire Carl Icahn who disclosed last month that he has a large position in the company and is lobbying for it to up its share repurchase plans. “Apple’s just a no-brainer,” he told CNBC. “It’s extremely cheap…At these levels we’re buying quite a bit.”
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