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Samsung Falls as Morgan Stanley Cuts Profit Estimates

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest smartphone maker, fell to the lowest in more than four months after Morgan Stanley became the second broker in a week to cut profit estimates citing weaker handset demand.

Shares in Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung declined for a fourth day, dropping 2.5 percent to close at 1,389,000 won, the lowest since Jan. 28. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.6 percent.

Morgan Stanley cut its earnings estimates for Samsung this year by 1.6 percent as it lowered sales expectations for the flagship Galaxy S4 handset to 61 million units from 71 million, analysts led by Shawn Kim said in a report yesterday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts cut their profit estimates June 6, also citing slowing demand for Samsung’s top smartphone.

“Concerns have been raised in the market over the sales of its flagship smartphone, Galaxy S4,” said Kim Jae Dong, a fund manager at Baring Asset Management Korea Ltd. “Many investors seem to be opting to reduce their portion of Samsung shares for the time being.”

Samsung sold 10 million Galaxy S4 handsets within a month of its release, it said May 23. Samsung shipped 69.4 million smartphones in the January-March quarter of 2013 before the release of the S4, according to data released by Strategy Analytics.

Apple Inc. shipped 37.4 million over the same period.

The South Korean company’s market share increased to 33.1 percent at the end of March from 28.9 percent a year earlier, while Apple’s decreased to 17.9 percent from 22.8 percent, Strategy Analytics said.

“Galaxy S4 sell-through is running lower at Samsung, which has recently reduced monthly orders of components from its suppliers,” Morgan Stanley’s Kim wrote, affirming an overweight rating on the stock. “Sell-through demand appears lower than our previous estimate.”

Samsung also unveiled a smaller, less-powerful version of the S4 phone last month.

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