updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue March 20, 2007
Macs may surprise street
Apple's Mac sales in the March 2007 quarter may well surpass Wall Street estimates, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "Over the last several days we have spoken with 20 Apple specialist resellers," Munster wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. "With two weeks left in the quarter, most (85 percent) of the resellers in our checks expect March 2007 Mac units will fall slightly (5-10 percent) from December 2006." Wall Street consensus however believes Apple's Mac units will fall around 10 percent quarter-over-quarter in March 2007. "Based on our checks with Apple specialist stores, we are more confident in Apple's Mac unit number for the March 2007 quarter," the analyst noted. In checks with 20 Apple retail stores, 85 percent of resellers expect Mac sales in March 2007 to decline slightly vs. December 2006, while the other 15 percent expect Mac units will remain flat quarter-over-quarter. Resellers generally define "lightly decline" as a 5-10 percent drop from December 2006 to March 2007. "We believe, therefore, Street estimates are achievable and may be slightly conservative."
Apple Specialist Resellers responded to questions about expectations for Mac sales in March 2007 vs. December 2006 in various ways, but most maintained a positive note.
"Our pro Mac sales have been pretty strong, we will be down quarter-over-quarter in March, but up year-over-year," one reseller said. "Usually the month of February is dead for Macs, bu this year we have not had a measurable slowdown from the holiday (December) quarter," another reseller said.
Piper Jaffray maintains an 'outperform' rating on Apple shares with a $124 price target.