FORTUNE — In an odd research note issued Monday, Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig lowered his price target on Apple (AAPL) to $780 from $840 even while assuring clients he “remains positive despite recent volatility.”
He attributes the stock’s recent eight-week sell-off to four factors:
(1) investors locking in profits heading into the year-end and a potential capital gain tax increase in 2013,
(2) perceived less than stellar iPhone 5 launch,
(3) near term margin pressure and
“Although we do not expect these uncertainties to alleviate near term,” he concludes, “we remain positive on current product cycles and believe the stock offers a very attractive balance of growth and value.”
Even at $780, Craig’s new price target is higher than the Street’s consensus, which according to Thomson/First Call now stands at $763.92.