Apple analyst smackdown: Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi vs. Piper’s Gene Munster

Apple Store“It continues to amaze me that analysts who specialize in Apple (AAPL) can look at the same data and come to such different conclusions,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s only amazing if you naively believe that analysts exist purely to explain what they think is likely to happen rather than move the price in whatever direction would benefit their paying clients.

Elmer-DeWitt continues, “Case in point: Reports issued Tuesday morning by Bernstein Research’s Toni Sacconaghi and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster. Both analysts examined the latest NPD data — released a day before Apple’s fiscal Q1 earnings call — but they didn’t see the same thing.”

“‘Sales Weak,’ begins the headline in the report by Sacconaghi, who has a history of bearish predictions for Apple. Based on the latest data, he is lowering his earnings and revenue estimates for both the quarter and the year,” Elmer-DeWitt reports. “‘iPod & Mac Appear Solid,’counters Munster, one of Apple’s strongest supporters. Munster is sticking with his price target of $235 per share. The stock opened Tuesday at $81.97.”

Bottom line, unit sales for 2009 Q1:

• Mac: Munster: 2.5 million to 2.6 million. Sacconaghi: 2.57 million
• iPod: Munster: 18.6 million. Sacconaghi: 18.1 million
• iPhone: Munster: 6.4 million. Sacconaghi: 3.5 million to 4 million

Much more in the full article here.

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