While other financial analysts are rating Apple "Buy," Robert Renck, from R.L. Renck & Co., is rating the company "Sell." He says the Mac maker may be doing well now, but the limited way it breaks out operating results for its various segments is a problem. Right now, Apple is performing well, so analysts are content to work with the limited information the company provides. If the companyis performance should slip, however, these same analysts are likely to want more detailed financial information to delve in to.
Apple always provides information about operating profits based on regions and not products. For products, it only offers total sales data. Operating profit for its retail stores is also broken out as a separate item. Accounting standards indicate that any segment that generates more than ten percent of a companyis revenue, like the iPod, should be broken down into sales, profit and assets. Thatis something Apple doesnit do.
Since the company chooses to shroud how it presents some of its financial information, analysts donit have much to base their projections and predictions on. Mr. Renck says "[Appleis] business has changed and they should be doing it differently."
He thinks Apple should offer a separate financial breakout for computers, iPods, music-related products, peripherals, and software and service.
Herb Greenberg, writing for The Wall Street Journal, asked Apple about the company financial disclosure policyand Mr. Renckis assesment. Apple representatives said they do not comment on analyst reports, and referred him to a section of the companyis 10-K that details how it manages its business primarily on a geographic basis.
Despite his "Sell" rating, Mr. Renck notes that Apple is performing well, and that it probably isnit doing anything financially under-handed. "I donit think Apple is doing anything wrong other than their penchant for secrecy," he says.
Apple stock is currently trading unchanged in the pre-market at US$58.83.