Apple Names New COO As Shares Down On Lowered Expectations

Apple Shares Down

Apple stock has been a profitable investment for years, but its ever-higher growth rate might finally be slowing down.

Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology firm closed at $108.98 on Thursday, down 2.12%. Analyst expectations of weaker 2016 demand for Apple’s flagship iPhone devices have helped push share prices lower this week, part of a recent downward trend that has seen shares losing over 4% of their value so far this month.

Bank of America and Raymond James both lowered their forecasts for 2016 iPhone shipments by ten and five million respectively. In a weekend note, Morgan Stanley projected a 6% dip in iPhone sales for 2016.

The Washington Post reported this week that softening demand for semiconductor demand has profit forecasts by companies like Information Technologies and Dialog Semi.

On Thursday, Apple announced that Jeff Williams has been named chief operating officer. The position had been vacant since Tim Cook was promoted to chief executive of the company in 2011. Williams has been with Apple since 1998, overseeing procurement, supply chain and social responsibility activities. He also supervises the Apple Watch project.

“Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with,” Cook said in a statement.

Apple shares are well off the high mark set earlier this year, about 19% lower than the $134.54 they were trading at on April 28.

Weakening demand could be a sign of saturated smartphone markets. As Apple’s iPhone has risen to global dominance and continually improved year over year, annual upgrades might be less of a priority for consumers.

Written by Gene Giannotta

Gene Giannotta is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He reports on economic policy, finance and business news.