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Behind the big Apple downgrade: Analyst who made the call reveals why the stock is in trouble

The Bank of America analyst who made waves Thursday by downgrading Apple said his decision was based on the tech giant’s decision not to upgrade chips in the iPhone 14 series. “That is a real departure from from prior generations,” analyst Wamsi Mohan told “Squawk on the Street” when talking about the chips. “We think that that is actually something that consumers are aware of and make a decision based on.” Bank of America lowered its rating on the tech giant Thursday to neutral from buy. The firm also lowered its price target on the stock to $160 per share. While that implies an upside of 7%, the previous price target of $185 positioned the stock for a gain of more than 23%. The stock has outperformed the S & P 500 so far in 2022, but Mohan said that Apple’s stature as a “safe haven” stock may be in jeopardy as consumer spending takes a hit, which analysts expect to hurt iPhone 14 performance. Apple could also see a short-term slog on services that could translate to a lower gross profit, Mohan said in the note. His souring sentiment on the stock also stems from the increasingly tumultuous economic environment consumers find themselves in, he told CNBC. Inflation and currency conversion rates have created instability that even companies such as Apple won’t be able to completely avoid. Mohan said Inflation thus far has hit lower-income consumers harder. About 60% of Apple’s consumer base is a higher-income consumer, providing some shield, but that remaining 40% means that the company will not totally avoid these broader market challenges. “Multiply that with the FX headwinds … (that) translates into significant earnings risk,” he told CNBC. “That’s what we’re trying to acknowledge.”

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