Analyst's Comments on iPod Send Apple Shares Down

Shares of Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) on Wednesday fell to an eight-month low after a Wall Street analyst said updated versions of the popular iPod digital music player may be delayed.

The stock fell 2.9 percent to $55.76, after hitting a session low of $55.41. It was among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq market amid heavy trading.

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that new versions of Apple's slim iPod Nano player would ship in the fourth quarter, rather than the third quarter, due to Apple's switch of suppliers.

Wu, who trimmed his price target on Apple shares to $75 from $101, also saw the introduction of a wide-screen video iPod, previously thought to arrive in the fourth quarter, being pushed back until the sometime in the first half of 2007.

The stock price decline comes amid a stream of analyst warnings that sales of the Nano have been sluggish and that iPod sales in the quarter would fall short of forecasts.

While the iPod, and its companion iTunes music software and service, remain dominant in the digital music market, Apple has relied on new models and services to re-energize demand. But Wu notes that the last new iPod device came out last October.

"The stock has pulled back as the overall tech market has been week, but there is also a lack of new product momentum," Wu told Reuters. "The Nano was introduced last October, it was very strong but it hasn't done that well, and it is in need of a refresh."