Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The company's stock fell below $500 a share in pre-market trading-- Monday for the first time since February after Citigroup downgraded the stock from buy to neutral. At one point, the stock fell below $497 a share, though it has since bounced back above $500 and opened at $508.92 a share.

Citigroup's three Apple analysts cut their-- price target for Apple on Sunday to $575 from $675, citing a reports that Apple is cutting its supply orders for the iPhone 5, which suggest lower sales for the new device.

Other analysts at UBS and Jefferies also cut their-- price targets on Apple's stock last week, noting concerns about supply orders and tepid sales in China.

What's surprising this time around is that Apple just reported stronger-than-expected opening weekend sales of the iPhone 5 in China -- a key market for Apple's growth. Meanwhile, analysts at Morgan Stanley argued in a research note that demand for the iPhone 5 and iPad in the U.S. remains strong, based on a survey they conducted of more than 1,000 consumers.

These mixed signals likely explain why the stock has been-- bouncing around so much in early trading Monday.

Apple has now lost the vast majority of its gains-- from the year. The stock closed at $405 a share on the final day of trading in 2011 and climbed to as high as $705 this year after the launch of the iPhone 5.