Apple removed more than 46,000 apps, including 39,000 games apps, in its biggest single-day removal from its China store on Thursday, according to Reuters.
The deadline for game publishers to submit a government-issued license number allowing users to make in-app purchases was originally set by Apple (AAPL) for June 30. However, the company later extended the deadline to December 31.
Only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games survived the mass crackdown, according to research firm Qimai.
The move comes as no surprise, according to analysts, as Apple strives to comply with the requirements of China’s content regulators. Apple’s bottom line is not expected to be impacted as much as previous removals this time around. (See AAPL stock analysis on TipRanks)
Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral reiterated his Hold rating on the stock last week and set a price target of $106. This implies downside potential of around 21% from current levels.
In a note released on December 8, Cabral offered two alternative scenarios that he believes will influence the price of Apple stock going forward. Both scenarios are heavily dependent on consumer spending patterns and demand for Apple products. The bull-case, or ‘Blue Sky Scenario’, has a price target of $142, while his ‘Grey Sky Scenario’ has a $55 price target and assumes “a more prolonged downturn in consumer spend, negatively impacting sales.”
Consensus among analysts is a Moderate Buy based on 23 Buys, 6 Holds and 1 Sell. The average price target of $131.88 suggests the stock is almost fully priced at current levels.
Apple moves into the last trading session of 2020 having gained more than 80% since the beginning of the year.
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