Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) is taking preorders for its much ballyhooed Apple Watch. Or was taking preorders.
Nearly of the models made available to U.S. consumers sold out in just six hours and it looks the April 24 availability date announced by the company at the Apple Watch unveiling event last month is getting pushed back. Perhaps as far out as the third quarter.
“Whether due to high demand or low supply, all models of Apple Watch have now almost entirely sold out with many slipping delivery date estimates in mere minutes of preorders opening. In the US, the 38 mm Stainless Steel Case with Black Classic Buckle is the only model still on offer with a ‘April 24th – May 8th’ shipping date,” reports 9to5Mac.com.
Unveiling a new product with preexisting, pent-up demand is old hat for Apple and that might explain the lack of enthusiasm for the blowout preorders being displayed by exchange traded funds heavy on shares of Apple. Even shares of California-based Apple are trading slightly lower today.
The $12.9 billion Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK), which entered Friday with an Apple weight of nearly 18.1%, is trading modestly higher today, bringing the one-month gain for the largest technology sector ETF to 1.4%.
Apple’s footprint in XLK is so significant that the weights assigned to the ETF’s next three holdings – Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Facebook – combine for an allocation that is less than 18.1% XLK devotes to Apple. [Tech ETFs for Growth]
Although XLK and rival tech ETFs are not producing noteworthy gains today, the Apple Watch has the potential to help those ETFs do just do that once the company starts reporting sales figures for the product.
“It appears that based on our observations and media reports, launch day supply (April 24th) was largely sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes depending on model. Most lead times now suggest a 4-6 week or June/July ship date. Overall we view this as an indication of solid demand paired with very limited supply, with supply being the most significant limiting factor. We continue to expect modest sales in the June quarter (2.3m units) as demand ramps over time, with Dec-16 a breakout period. We maintain our Overweight rating and $160 price target,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a note posted by Business Insider.
A move to $160 for Apple would be significant when considering the stock resides below $127 at this writing. Such a move would predictably benefit ETFs such as XLK and the $2.9 billion iShares U.S. Technology ETF (NYSEArca: IYW). IYW’s 20.6% weight to Apple is more than double the ETF’s weight to Microsoft, its second-largest holding.
Some analysts are not overwhelmed about the impact the Apple Watch will have on the stock.
“Following initial reviews of the Apple Watch, we maintain our below-consensus view that the Apple Watch will only sell 10 million units this year, lower than the consensus of Street analysts, which we believe to be in a range of 15 million to 20 million units for 2015. Our belief is that it will take time for consumers to fully understand the capabilities and become familiar with the emerging wearables category. As a result, we expect future releases to see greater success but nonetheless see near term demand initially driven by early adopters purchasing the device,” said S&P Capital IQ in a note out today.