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Goldman takes Apple stock off 'preferred' list

NEW YORK — Goldman Sachs dropped Apple off its list of most highly recommended stocks Tuesday as it joined other analysts in reducing expectations for a company that hasn't had a revolutionary new product since the iPad in 2010.

Goldman analyst Bill Shope said the iPhone 5, introduced last fall, hasn't sold as well as he expected. He said the company now needs some real hits among the products it rolls out during the second half of the year in order to boost the stock price.

Apple's stock fell $1.01, or 0.2 percent, to $427.90 in afternoon trading Tuesday, while the Nasdaq was up 0.2 percent. Apple's stock price is close to its one-year low of $419, hit a month ago. It's well off its all-time peak of $705.07, reached in September on the day the iPhone 5 went on sale.

Besides taking the company off Goldman's "Americas Conviction List," which it had been on since December 2010, Shope lowered Apple's price target on the shares to $575, from $660. But he kept a "Buy" rating for the company.

After a heady decade, Apple's sales growth is slowing down. In recent years, Apple has tinkered with existing products rather than come out with groundbreaking new ones. Even so, the company warned this fall that a wave of improvements meant higher production costs, at least initially. For the quarter that just ended, analysts polled by FactSet expect an 18 percent decrease in earnings compared with the previous year. It would be the first time in many years that Apple sees an earnings decline of that magnitude.


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