SocGen cuts Apple to "hold" on iPhone 5s sales fears

France's second biggest bank is falling out of love with tech giant Apple.

Societe Generale have cut their rating for the company's shares from "buy" to "hold" - their preferred stock in the communications equipment sector is Ericsson.

While the worldwide handset had a good 2014 - equity analyst Andy Perkins said it remained strong in the fourth quarter of last year with volumes up 10 per cent annually - Societe Generale research suggests that Apple volumes may disappoint.

That would be particularly painful for Apple, as they've just released a range of new devices - so you'd expect them to outperform the market as a whole.

Societe Generale estimates now suggest that just 52m units were sold in the final quarter of 2013, and they "also believe that the 5s
model is selling substantially better than the 5c handset", with Apple expected to have sold roughly four 5s units for every 5c units.

While there was "extremely strong initial interest" for the new models, the relative failure of the 5c can be seen in the results of Apple supplier Pegatron, which Societe Generale believe received the bulk of orders for 5c handsets.

Apple will announce its results on 27 January after the market closes.

Perkins says that an important part of the release will be second quarter guidance. The bank expects sales of $47bn (£28.6bn) and earnings per share of $10.8.