Apple shares fell 10% in afterhours trading last night, threatening to throw a spoke in the recent tech market rally, as its breakneck rate of sales growth faltered at the end of 2012.
Shares in the business gave up around $50 billion as investors began to question whether its period of maximum expansion. Apple stock has fallen from a peak of $702 in September to $461.31.
The company sold a record 47.8 million iPhones over the last quarter of 2012. While 29% up on 2012 that nonetheless disappointed market expectations the company would break through 50 million.
Similarly, while revenue grew 18% over the quarter to $54.5 billion, that nonetheless came below expectation of $54.73 billion, marking the third consecutive quarter that Apple has missed forecasts.
The slide in Apple’s valuation since September has been a source of fascination to US analyst Bespoke Investment, which this month pointed out there is now spread of more than 30% between the share price and median price target.
Over the last quarter the shares are now lagging by a wide measure the price gain of Facebook – which admittedly started from a much lower valuation.
Apple is now trading at a trailing multiple of 11.64 times price to earnings.