The most anticipated report of the entire earnings season will be released after today’s closing bell. Brean Capital analyst Ananda Baruah and BMO Capital analyst Tim Long weighed in on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings.
Heading into this evening’s call, Brean Capital’s Ananda Baruah believes that Apples could be just on the heels of another adjustment to iPhone production. This should further heighten the anticipation for Apple’s commentary regarding demand.
Baruah noted, “Our CY16 AAPL shipment view now is 210M – 220M (from 230M previously), or a 5% – 10% decline. Interestingly, we believe any new reductions may be across existing products (6s) and the upcoming 4 inch phone. While we’re not sure why the new 4 inch phone builds would be reduced so much ahead of launch, our hunch is that given AAPL has been looking to reduce inventories that at this point they’d rather have too little product as opposed to too much.”
Baruah reiterated a Buy rating on Apple shares, with a price target of $170, which implies an upside of 70% from current levels.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Ananda Baruah has a yearly average return of -10% and a 35% success rate. Baruah has a -14.5% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #3506 out of 3593 analysts.
Out of the 35 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 29 rate Apple stock a Buy, 5 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends a Sell. With a return potential of nearly 36%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $138.31.
Ahead of the earnings announcement, BMO Capital analyst Tim Long joined the crowd, maintaining an Outperform rating on AAPL, with a price target of $133.
With numerous supply chain data points pushing estimates lower over the past month, Long believes that all eyes will be on iPhone units. Most important will be March quarter shipments, which set the stage for the rest of the 6S cycle. The analyst says that the Street has become a little too negative on March iPhone expectations, with some expecting iPhone units into the low-40 million territory, and most in the mid-high 40 million range, well below his 56 million and the published consensus of 54.5 million.
Although Apple is unlikely to provide unit guidance, the analyst expects the overall revenue guide to help narrow down the range, which should offer some relief from the uncertainty that investors have experienced over the past two months.
Beyond the iPhone 6S and the Watch, Apple has released a number of new products over the past few quarters, including a refreshed Apple TV, iPad Pro, and Apple Music. Long noted that while none of these is likely to grow to be the size of the iPhone business, continued innovation beyond smartphones will become increasingly important over the next few years. The analyst wrote, “We are heading into a period where we should see a more than typical number of new products, including a potential Watch refresh, an updated four-inch iPhone, and an iPhone 7 and 7s.”
Long has a 38% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 2% per recommendation. According to TipRanks. Long has a -7.3% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #1215 out of 3593 analysts.