Top ranked analysts from Piper Jaffray and Canaccord weighed in on tech giants Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) following estimate revisions and management CES talks, respectively. While one analyst remains bullish on Apple despite lowered iPhone guidance, another is cautious on Blackberry despite recent positive developments, predicting future challenges.
Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray recently weighed in on Apple, commenting on March quarter iPhone estimates. He states that although the company remains his firm’s top pick for 2016, he is lowering his March iPhone expectations due to reported lower iPhone component production from suppliers as well as his own checks. As a result, he is also reducing his revenue expectations for the upcoming quarter. However, he states that the recent drop in share price “already reflects low expectations for iPhone units in March.”
Because “AAPL traded around 9x forward EPS ex-cash” in January of 2014, the middle of the iPhone 5s product cycle, the analyst believes shares will turn around after the upcoming earnings report “once the uncertainty around March iPhones is removed from the story,” as the iPhone 6s is currently in its middle product cycle. He states that guidance as low as 45-50 million iPhones for the March quarter, compared to his firm’s previous guidance of 62.5 million, “would likely be a relief for shares.”
Although Apple previously stated that supply chain component orders do not affect “the health of the iPhone business overall,” the analyst believes recent lowered guidance estimates from 3 key suppliers and a similar report from Nikkei, the Japanese exchange, are “too much collective evidence to not adjust iPhone expectations. Despite lowered estimates, the analyst reiterated his overweight rating with a $179 price target.
Gene Munster is ranked #6 out of 3,682 analysts on TipRanks. He has a 60% success rate recommending stocks with a yearly average return of 19.1%.
Analyst Michael Walkley from Canaccord weighed in on Blackberry following an investor meeting with CEO at the CES last week. The analyst stated a few positive highlights from the meeting and the CES in general, although he remains cautious. The analyst commented on the company’s QNX automotive software, expressing positive sentiment regarding its market share and believes WNX “remains a strong long-term software growth driver for Blackberry.” Other reasons for bullishness include QNX’s involvement in the internet of things long-term growth as well as the company’s presentation of other products for the autonomous driving market.
He continues by stating that Blackberry’s PRIV, released in November, will result in “higher device ASP’s” although does not predict a surge in sales due to competition from Android and “uncertain market demand” for the niche product. Walkley also comments on the company’s recent strong earnings, stating that he expects “another strong quarter of software sales growth with a full quarter of the Good and Athoc acquisitions.”
However, the analyst is not so quick to jump on the bullish bandwagon. He believes that going forward, the company “faces a challenging road of ramping organic software growth to meaningfully replace the services decline over the next several years.” Walkley states that through FY2018, “the continued steep decline in high margin services business and ongoing tepid hardware sales will remain a headwind to meaningful profitability.” The analyst maintains his Hold rating on Blackberry with an $8 price target.
Overall, analyst Michael Walkley has a 58% success rate recommending stocks with a 13.3% average return per recommendation.