(Changes source, adds details, share movement)
April 22 (Reuters) - American Technology Research on Tuesday downgraded Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to “neutral” from “buy,” saying the shares are no longer inexpensive and the company’s near-term results might not meet expectations.
“While we believe AAPL will report a strong quarter relative to guidance and published consensus estimates, we are concerned whether it will be good enough and whether investors will be as forgiving with conservative guidance,” analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a note to clients.
Apple, which makes iPod media players, Macintosh computers and the iPhone, is expected to report second-quarter results on Wednesday.
The analyst continues to be upbeat on the potential for a strong product roll-out in the second half of 2008, but said “there could be a vacuum before then.”
With 3G iPhones unlikely to ship in volume until July and the new Macs until the September quarter, the third quarter could be under pressure, Wu said.
“The fact is AAPL shares are very volatile despite being universally loved,” Wu said.
As investors are clearly more focused on near-term results, the stock has a chance of underperforming for the next few months, Wu added.
Apple shares, which have gained 85 percent in the past one year, were down more than 4 percent at $161.27 in morning trade on Nasdaq. The stock had touched a 52-week high of $202.96 in December last year. (Reporting by Aditi Samajpati in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)