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The Ratings Game: Apple iPhone wait times have doubled in 4 weeks to 38 days, UBS says

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It’s too late to buy an Apple iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max in time for Christmas, as supply disruptions have caused wait times to double over the past four weeks, according to UBS research.

As a result, investors shouldn’t expect any upside surprises in iPhone sales for Apple Inc.’s fiscal first quarter, which ends in December, and they may even see a miss.

“[W]e believe our December iPhone unit estimate of 83 million is likely capped and could potentially come in lower than expectations,” UBS analyst David Vogt wrote in a note to clients. “Although demand does not appear to be the gating factor, based on conversations with investors, we believe the market is bracing for units to come in a million or two below our estimate.”

The technology behemoth’s stock
AAPL,
+0.77%

edged up 0.3% in afternoon trading. It has dropped9.9% over the past three months, while the Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
+1.17%

has declined 9.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.42%

has gained 3.8%.

Vogt said data from UBS Evidence Lab that tracks iPhone availability across 30 countries indicated that wait times had increased in the latest week across most markets, including the U.S., as “persistent COVID lockdowns in China are creating supply disruptions, notably at the high end.”

Wait times for the iPhone 14 Pro and the Pro Max are at 38 days, up four days from a week ago and double what they were four weeks ago, the data show.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said many Apple stores and retailers are low on iPhone 14 inventory across the board. He believes roughly 8 million iPhones will be sold over the Black Friday weekend, down sharply from 10 million in the same period a year ago, “with the gap being mostly supply driven.”

Any weakness in iPhone sales for the quarter won’t be because of slowing demand, Ives said.

“We believe demand for iPhone 14 units into the all-important Black Friday holiday weekend is way ahead of supply and could cause major shortages leading into Christmas season,” Ives wrote.

Despite the supply concerns, UBS’s Vogt reiterated the buy rating he’s had on the stock since March 2021, and Wedbush’s Ives maintained the outperform rating he’s had on Apple for at least the past three years.

*U.S. Crude Oil Inventories Decrease By 3.7 Million Barrels In Week Ended 11/18

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