Shares of Apple continued to slide today, edging toward levels the stock hasn't touched since last January.
After opening down more than 10 percent this morning at $460.46 a share, the stock closed at $450.46, down $63.55, or 12.36 percent. It's the largest single-day percentage drop since 2008 for the company's shares, and follows yesterday's earnings report that missed Wall Street's expectations.
As mentioned in previous coverage, Wall Street is skittish about Apple's flat profits, as well as its guidance for the next quarter, which came in between $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion short of what Wall Street was hoping for. Those expectations have since been ratcheted back by some analyst firms, many of which now say that investors should look to the company's mid-year product announcements, as well as a longer-term view of iPhone and iPad sales for signs of the company's health.
"To re-accelerate growth, Apple likely needs to launch new products, yet few seem likely before June," Nomura Security's Stuart Jeffrey wrote in a note this morning. "iOS 7 could have the greatest impact, yet recent management changes suggest a major advance is unlikely in the near-term. A China Mobile deal could also boost the stock, yet the timing of this remains uncertain ... this leaves only a $300 iPhone or a premium iPhone as likely catalysts."
Others on Wall Street remain concerned with what appears to be a deceleration of sales of the iPad, the amount of money Apple makes on its portable devices, as well as its overall margins. What looked like steadfast components of the company's growth and profits have been hard to predict. Adding to the complexity of that were new accounting measures announced by Apple yesterday that change how the company reports some of its results by category, as well as a new forecasting method that's expected to mean no more surprise blowouts.
"Apple was known for its conservative guidance," Jefferies analyst Peter Misek told clients today. "We believe this (change) signifies management's recognition that the company is unlikely to exceed expectations in the future."