Which Apple Inc. (AAPL) Supply Chain Rumor Should You Believe? – Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (TSM)

Page 1 of 2

The battleground stock that is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to see investors focus heavily on supply chain rumblings from the other side of the world. Shares were weak today, down over 1% this morning, in part due to bearish sentiment among analysts. On the other hand, there’s also some data that could potentially be good news for the iPhone maker.

Which supply chain rumors should investors believe?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

The bad news
Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, who has the Street high price target of $888, says that things aren’t so great within Apple’s supply chain. White is the analyst that has compiled a group of Apple suppliers and bundled them into what he refers to as the “Apple Monitor.” The goal is to gain insight into Apple’s pipeline by looking at sales activity of suppliers.

White’s data shows that the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Monitor saw February sales drop by a whopping 31% sequentially from January, far worse than the average 8% decline due to normal seasonality. That figure is the worst performance that the analyst has on record.

CLSA analyst Avi Silver has now downgraded his rating on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from “outperform” to “buy” while reducing his price target from $575 to $505, citing lower iPhone unit estimates in the June quarter. This expectation is partially based on a rumored iPhone launch during the summer, in which case sales may decline ahead of new models as consumers are now well attuned to Apple’s rumored product cycles. Silver also sees an upcoming “iPhone Mini” having a negative effect on product mix and margins.

Baird Capital analyst William Power is on record saying the firm’s semiconductor team expects iPhone 5 and iPad shipments to come in below consensus estimates. With the Mobile World Congress wrapping up last week, consumers and investors have gotten a glimpse of the competitive landscape and Power has concerns over Apple’s product demand following the trade show. The analyst is sticking with his $465 price target, which represents modest upside from current prices.

The good news
Reuters is now reporting that both Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:TSM) and Hon Hai (Foxconn’s parent company) are each planning on adding 5,000 workers to their ranks. Both companies are looking to recruit students that are preparing to graduate from Taiwan University this year.

The reported job additions are notable for several reasons. First off, Apple shares fell 2% last month on reports that Foxconn was instituting a hiring freeze. Part of the pessimism was since the Financial Times speculated it was due to “weakening demand.” It didn’t matter much that other analysts actually thought the hiring freeze was due to improved working conditions and better wages, leading to higher employee retention.

Regardless, reports that Hon Hai is now ramping up recruiting could signal that it needs more employees to ramp up production of upcoming Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices. Apple is hardly Hon Hai’s only customer, but it is easily the company’s biggest.

To date, Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:TSM) and Apple have had no publicly direct business relationship. Speculation has persisted for years that the two companies would inevitably ink a partnership as Apple tries to reduce its reliance on Samsung, but nothing has materialized yet. Apple indirectly gets iDevice chips made by TSMC through other suppliers like QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM), but has never tapped the chip manufacturer directly.

Page 1 of 2
Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

Reign of Terror: The 10 Most Ruthless Politicians in History

On the Move: The 10 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2015

Fast Money: The 10 Highest Paying Fast Food Restaurants

Mixing It Up: The 14 Best Music Mashups of 2014

Rito Pls Buff: The 10 Least Played Champions in LoL Season 4

10 Covers of Popular Songs that are Better than the Originals

Must See TV: The 9 Most Anticipated Shows of 2015

The 15 Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time

10 Things The World Can’t Stand About Americans

Picture Perfect: The 6 Smartphones with the Best Cameras

The 10 Best Countries To Work In the World

A Profitable Day At The Track: 5 Tips For Betting On Horses

Tearing You Apart: 6 Bad Habits That Ruin Relationships

Learning on the Job: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Shopaholics Rejoice: The 12 Biggest Malls in the World

Fright Night: 10 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Mach Mania: The 10 Fastest Jets in the World

Military Heavyweights: The 10 Countries with the Most Tanks

All In: The 7 Richest Poker Players in the World

Abracadabra: The 10 Best Magicians in the World

The 10 Richest Asian Countries in the World in 2014

Eyes in the Sky: 10 Things You Need to Know About Drones

Rising Stars: The 6 Best Silicon Valley Startups

Military Muscle: The 5 Most Advanced Armies in South America

All that Glitters: The 7 Most Luxurious Jewelry Brands in the World

5 Things You Didn’t Know About ISIS but Should

Empowering Your Money: The 5 Best Energy Stocks to Invest In

The 11 Best Android Apps You Can’t Get on iOS

The 10 Most Important International Conflicts in 2014

Mood Enhancers: The 20 Most Uplifting Songs of all Time

Lover Beware: The 8 Countries that Cheat the Most

Breath of Fresh Air: The 25 Countries with the Best Air Quality on the Planet

Singles Beware: The 8 Worst Mistakes Made on First Dates

Healthy and Happy: The 10 Countries with Lowest Healthcare Costs

The 6 Best Company Team Building Activities to Build Workplace Camaraderie

Ships Ahoy: The 10 Busiest Shipping Ports in the World

10 Productivity Tips to Save You Time and Help You Do More With Less

Grab a Bite: The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in America

Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

The 6 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries We May Never Figure Out

7 Useless Products You Never Should’ve Bought

The 5 Reasons Why You’re Single and Miserable

The 7 Most Addictive Foods in the World We Can’t Stop Eating (Even Though We Should)

5 Amazing Places You Can Swim with Dolphins

The Top 7 Most Livable Countries In The World

The 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards Ever Pulled From A Pack

The 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers

Silver Spoon: The 6 Richest Families in the World

The 20 Countries with the Largest Prison Populations in the World

The Top 10 Richest Actors in the World

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!