Woori Investment & Securities, one of the largest investment houses in South Korea, was the first to cut its earnings estimates and stock price forecast back on June 5th. Since then, a number of Wall Street heavyweights have followed suit with Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs all reducing their ratings on Samsung's shares. Sales estimates for the Samsung Galaxy S4 were reduced by as much as 30% as investors starting worrying about lower profits for Samsung's mobile division, the largest contributor to the parent firm's bottom line.
Even though the Samsung Galaxy S4 sold 10 million units in the first month after launch, the phone is said by the Street to lack a "wow-factor" and there are worries about slowing smartphone sales in Europe and Asia. Analysts now see Samsung shipping 7 million units of its Android flagship phone a month instead of the previously expected 10 million phones. Bank Of America Merrill Lynch has cut its annual estimate of Samsung Galaxy S4 sales by 5 million units to 65 million. That cut represents $1 billion of estimated operating profit zapped from Samsung's bottom line.
The top Samsung Mobile executive, J.K. Shin, responded to this by saying, "S4 sales are solid. It's just that some analysts had higher expectations and then they lowered them." Merrill still expects record quarterly smartphone profits thanks to Samsung's strength in other smartphone sectors. Those bullish on the Korean manufacturer are also waiting to see the Samsung Galaxy Note III which should have close to a 6 inch screen with 1080 x 1920 resolution. Will the phablet be enough to perk up Sammy's stock? The shares hit a 6 month low on Thursday before rebounding slightly on Friday.