Why Apple stock was falling Monday

Earnings are coming next week, and Wall Street is only cautiously optimistic.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) was joining in Monday's stock market sell-off. As investors respond to broader pessimism about the global rebound in new coronavirus cases, the tech giant's share price fell by a little more than 3% in early trading -- and that slide largely persisted throughout the session. As of 2:15 p.m. EDT, Apple stock remained down by 2.8%.

So what

The pandemic is one problem for Apple. Stock market analysts are another. In twin notes Monday morning previewing the upcoming earnings release for Apple's fiscal third quarter, analysts at Deutsche Bank said they see "strong momentum across all of its businesses," and expect Apple to beat consensus estimates. That said, the analysts admitted that Apple is dealing with component shortages for its Macs and iPads that could dent results. In a note covered by TheFly.com, Deutsche seemed to hold out the most hope that 5G iPhone sales could save the quarter. At the same time, however, analysts at investment bank Bernstein suggested that any beat by Apple might be only "modest" in size. Bernstein is hoping that Apple will keep market enthusiasm going by commenting on its fourth-quarter expectations, but warned that the company is more likely to give investors only vague guidelines rather than numerical guidance for the period.

Now what

So what should investors be looking for when Apple releases its Q3 numbers on July 28? On the one hand, both the top and bottom lines are expected to grow, with sales forecast to rise 22% year over year to $72.9 billion, and earnings up perhaps as much as 56% to $1 per share. On the other hand, with investors already anticipating such strong growth numbers, it could be hard for Apple to exceed expectations. Hopefully, even a modest beat will be enough to keep investors happy.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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