Analysts weigh in on iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and wearable device maker Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT). The analysts reflect on Apple’s $14.5 billion EU tax fine and Fitbit’s Charge 2 and Flex 2 launches. Let’s take a closer look.
Yesterday morning, the EU struck Apple with a $14.5 billion ruling declaring the tech titan must pay this recompense in back taxes, penalizing AAPL headquarters with a hit worth about 10% of its net cash balance, or about $2.65 per share.
Piper Jaffray top analyst Gene Munster notes, “As a reminder, Apple’s EU headquarters are in Ireland, where it has, in our view, established a legal and favorable tax relationship with the country.” Both Apple and Ireland fully intend to fight back with an appeal.
“While the outcome is likely several months away given the appeal, the key takeaway is that we believe investors are unconcerned on a relative basis in relation to the stock. While the penalty is large in absolute terms, it represents a small portion of AAPL’s overall valuation. Bigger picture, the story for AAPL remains the return to growth via the iPhone 7 (announcement next week) or the iPhone 7S/8 next year,” Munster concludes.
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Therefore, despite the unfavorable tax ruling, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of AAPL with a $151 price target, which represents a 42% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Gene Munster has achieved a high ranking of #4 out of 4,129 analysts. Munster upholds a 66% success rate and yields 17.9% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Munster earns 13.9% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate AAPL as a Strong Buy. Based on 36 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 31 rate a Buy on AAPL, 4 maintain a Hold, and 1 issues a sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $125.63, marking a nearly 19% upside from where the shares last closed.
On Monday, Fitbit made the official announcement welcoming product sequels Charge 2 and Flex 2, along with new upgraded features for its Fitbit App. Additionally, the fitness tracking giant underscored collaborations with Tory Birch, Public School, and Vera Wang to beckon a new line of fashion-minded accessories to FIT product lines, which could engage a greater pool of consumers.
On the heels of this fresh FIT news, Merrill Lynch analyst Nat Schindler reiterates a Buy rating on shares of FIT with a $24 price target, which represents a 56% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
With attention to Fitbit software improvements, Schindler believes, “While Bears may point to the new Fitbit’s lack of sensors since the release of the Charge HR in early 2015, the software features introduced by Fitbit open a new level of usage and increase their feature advantage over competitors. More importantly, software updates allow Fitbit to push updates across the product line quicker than having to develop new products first. With two-thirds of its R&D team software engineers, Fitbit will likely continue to focus on adding value through software.”
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Moreover, the rumor mill once debated whether fitness trackers could become irrelevant as smartwatches take the public more and more by storm. However, the analyst finds the opposite to be true. With advanced, upgraded fitness trackers like the Blaze, Alta, and FIT’s newest product, the Charge 2 boasting smartwatch features but simultaneously besting its competition with accessible significant health tracking capabilities, high-cost smartwatches might be rendered less effectual.
“While smartwatches have the potential to do far more than Fitbits, the lack of focus from smartwatches manufactures means that Fitbit has faced little head to head competition in the fitness tracker space growing sales 46% q/q in 2Q despite very tough comps,” he concludes.
As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, one-star analyst Nat Schindler is ranked #3,364 out of 4,129 analysts. Schindler has a 46% success rate and faces a loss of 2.3% in his yearly returns. When recommending FIT, Schindler loses 6.4% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate FIT as a Buy. Based on 17 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 11 rate a Buy on FIT, while 6 maintain a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $21.35, marking a nearly 39% upside from where the shares last closed.