$AAPL Slips 1.75% Ahead of Earnings Report

Shares of AAPL declined on Thursday ahead of the company's fiscal 4th quarter earnings report. Apple will release that report after the closing bell on Thursday, and in the waning minutes of the trading session, AAPL was trading at US$606.03, down $10.80 (-1.75 percent), on moderate volume.

Consensus expectations are that Apple will turn in earnings per share of $8.25. In the past few weeks, and area of concern for analysts and pundits has been iPhone sales for the September quarter in light of supply constraints for the iPhone 5.

On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that his company had sold the 100 millionth iPad two weeks prior. That number led to concern that Apple missed consensus estimates for iPad shipments in the September quarter, as those estimates would have required Apple to hit Mr. Cook's 100 million number earlier.

On Wednesday, Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes cut his price target for AAPL by 1 percent to $800, down from $810. He also expressed concern for iPad mini pricing, which he had hoped would be more aggressive. At the same time, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu maintained his $840 price target for AAPL, specifically pointing out to his clients that Apple is almost always criticized for its pricing strategy, concern that seldom (if ever) panned out.

The Mac Observer will be offering live coverage of Apple's conference call with analysts, as well as in-depth coverage of important news from that call. the call begins at 5:00 PM Eastern.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.