Another iPhone is coming! Is that even still “a thing?” It’s not with investors – as the novelty has more than worn off.
Shares of Apple have fallen 6.6% in the 30 days prior to Wednesday’s widely anticipated announcement of the iPhone 6S. That’s a highly unusual move for the stock that has raced higher by an average of nearly 5% in the 30 days prior to the previous eight models. It’s the first time Apple’s stock has fallen leading up to an iPhone launch since the original iPhone in 2007 – ending what had been a dependable source of returns for investors.
Investors are counting on Apple to keep the excitement going over its aging iPhone smartphone line, which was first introduced more than eight years ago. The company gets two-thirds of its revenue from this single product line, 74% of its gross profit from the iPhone and this one product accounts for 61% of its stock price, says Trefis.com. Other new products including the iPad, Apple Watch and Apple Music have failed to meaningfully diversify the company’s offerings – especially profitability.
The broad market’s troubles are certainly somewhat to blame for the fall in Apple’s stock price heading into the new iPhone announcement. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped an even more severe 7.2% during the same time – and has been hit with a correction. But previously, Apple investors have viewed the company and its iPhone upgrade cycle as something that’s not captive to the ups and downs of the market. It’s a rude awaking for Apple investors – who until now – have treated iPhone announcements as an ATM as the stock has been immune to the vagaries of the broad market. Investors piled into Apple’s stock leading up to the announcement of a new iPhone – no matter what was happening in the broad market.
Shares of Apple have gained in the 30 days prior to an iPhone announcement in seven out of the past eight announcements – no matter what was happening with the market. Apple stock even inched up 0.1% ahead of the 2011 announcement of the iPhone 4S – even though the S&P 500 fell 6.4% during the same time period. A more dramatic example still occurred in 2010 ahead of the iPhone 4 announcement. Shares of Apple soared 8.5% in the 30 days prior – while the market dropped 4.1%.
Anticipation of a new iPhone hasn’t even pulled Apple stock out of its longer-term malaise this year – which is more severe than what’s been afflicting the broad market. Shares of Apple had have been struggling since July, falling 18% from their highs – while the S&P 500 is off just 9.8%.
As Apple gets larger – and relies heavily on a product that’s become geriatric by tech standards, investors are increasingly difficult to impress.