Talk about raining on Apple’s parade. America’s favorite tech company seemed ready for another great news day today: It says that it sold more than 4M new iPhone 4S’ this past weekend in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. Not a bad follow-up to Friday, when Apple shares hit their highest-ever price — $422.00 — and a promising lead-in to tomorrow, when Apple’s expected to announce a big increase in 3Q revenues and profits. But before you become too giddy, consider what BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis says today in a report downgrading Apple to “hold” from “buy.” Following the 31% increase in the company’s stock price in 2011, “the company has to constantly set records just to meet expectations.” And he says investors may be disappointed tomorrow. iPhone sales in 3Q will reflect “a phone that was at the end of its refresh cycle, not the start of a new one — as has been the case in September quarters in the years past.” And with iPads, the company needs to “set mind-blowing records,” and that may be too much to ask especially as Apple looks ahead. It has to deal with rivals such as Amazon that are “willing to lose profit to gain market share.” The bottom line: Gillis says that Apple probably ended up selling 9.5M iPads during the quarter at an average price of $650, which he says is “notably below (Wall Street’s) consensus.” And he warns that Apple could drop below $400 a share “possibly even this week after the earnings report on Tuesday.” Apple shares are down about 1% in afternoon trading while the overall market is off about 2%.

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