Why did the Appen share price sink 13% in June?

The Appen share price was sold off again in June…

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The Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) share price continued its slide during the month of June.

The artificial intelligence data services company’s shares lost 13% of their value last month.

This meant that the Appen share price was down 50% since the start of the year at the end of June.

Why did the Appen share price tumble?

The main catalyst for the Appen share price decline was broad market weakness, which was felt hardest in the tech sector.

For example, the ASX 200 index dropped a disappointing 8.9% last month and the S&P ASX All Technology index lost 10.3% of its value over the period.

What else?

Also putting some pressure on the Appen share price was a broker note out of Citi.

According to the note, its analysts downgraded the company’s shares to a neutral rating and slashed their price target on them by 28% to $6.60.

Citi made the move on the belief that Appen could fall short of its earnings guidance after a weaker than expected start to FY 2022. It notes that this will mean the company requires a very big second half to meet guidance, which is far from guaranteed.

And while Citi concedes that the takeover approach from Telus International shows that demand for human labelled artificial intelligence training data clearly exists, it isn’t enough for a more positive rating.

Elsewhere, the team at Macquarie upgraded Appen’s shares late last month to a neutral rating with a $5.70 price target. Its analysts are pleased with the company’s plan to diversify away from major tech customers. However, with 80% of its revenue coming from major US tech giants, it warned that this strategy will take some time.

Macquarie also suspects that Appen will have to deliver on its guidance to regain investor confidence. Though, with Citi predicting an earnings miss in FY 2022, this may not happen.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Appen Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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