A tide of investor fear is rising up around mega-cap tech stocks on the tails of President Elect Donald Trump’s stunning political win. Yet, Gene Munster, one of the best performing analysts on Wall Street, believes this presents a “rare opportunity” to buy into these concerns now laced into the pricing of “best-in-class” large cap tech stocks like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) that are now ripe for the discounted picking for long-investors.
Gene Munster has a very good TipRanks score with a 64% success rate and he stands at #12 out of 4,229 analysts. Munster garners 16.0% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Munster earns 8.3% in average profits on the stock. When suggesting FB, he realizes 33.2%. When rating AMZN, he yields 33.5%.
Let’s dive into his bullish forecasts:
Apple Could Give Cash Back to Shareholders
While President-Elect Trump’s various blurbs dominated the airwaves during his campaign, one of his sound-bites centered on returning jobs and keeping them within the nation. Though Munster acknowledges various tech giants boast considerable global work forces, Apple leads in its scope for greatest offshore manufacturing, as most iPhones are made in China.
As far as Munster assesses the situation of tariffs, foreign labor, and AAPL’s position in the wake of a Trump America, “We note that Apple generally does not directly employ its manufacturing workforce, but relies on third party manufacturers to build their designs. Thus, Apple itself does not have manufacturing jobs to bring back to America. As Tim Cook has stated, the technical capabilities that their Chinese partners offer are not something easily found in America. We believe that structurally, it could take years of promoting some type of vocational tech knowledge specific to electronic manufacturing to replicate the employee base that already exists in China.”
Ultimately, “We note that Trump has mentioned tariffs as a way to discourage overseas manufacturing, but we note that the majority of consumer electronics are manufactured overseas. Therefore, a tariff wouldn’t necessarily change anything competitively as all consumer electronics companies would likely face such a tariff,” Munster surmises.
Additionally, Munster concludes that the giant could even “stand to benefit from a tax holiday on cash repatriation to the US,” anticipating if this comes to pass, AAPL could take advantage in offsetting its debt load of $78.9 billion, subsequently giving cash back to shareholders.
As such, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of AAPL with a $155 price target, which represents just under a 42% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
TipRanks analytics exhibit AAPL as a Strong Buy. Out of 34 analysts polled by TipRanks, 28 are bullish on Apple stock, 5 remain sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of nearly 18%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $129.59.
Facebook’s Public Perception Issues Are Transitory
Munster points out that of President-Elect’s many “targets” of his temper outbursts or campaign threats, safely staying out of the “limelight” unlike some of the social media giant’s counterparts. In fact, the analyst comments, “the President-Elect has actually credited Facebook with helping him win.”
Moreover, this feeds into the opportunity to buy on this negative sentiment, as Munster explains, “Facebook does face the systemic concerns around talent and there are data privacy/strong encryption practices that it shares with Apple. We believe that FB has traded off more as a result of the negative press around fake articles on Facebook leading to Trump’s victory – we view this as a transitory issue (and note that the media has exaggerated the quantity of fake posts on Facebook).”
This would not be the first time a platform like Facebook has had to suffer from “the public’s misperception” inciting short-term misgivings, and as the analyst underscores, “often without long-standing impacts to engagement. Facebook has subsequently announced that it is banning fake-news advertising on its platform, but the newsfeed algorithm is unchanged due to complexity in determining the truthfulness of the vast number of articles posted daily.”
Undeterred by election angst surrounding the stock, the analyst continues to see FB as a “long-term growth story,” singing the praises of its monetization opportunities for Instagram, core FB ROW/APAC, WhatsApp/Messenger, as well as Oculus.
Highlighting the strength of these assets along with compelling prospects ahead in machine learning coupled with Artificial Intelligence, Munster reiterates an Overweight rating on FB with a price target of $185, which represents a 57% increase from where the shares last closed.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate FB as a Strong Buy. Based on 38 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 35 rate a Buy on FB, while 3 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $158.23, marking a 34% upside from where the stock is currently trading.
Amazon Does Not Come Close to Allegations of Anti-Trust Violations
Amazon, however, was one of Trump’s targets, with the President-Elect accusing the online auction and e-commerce leader of “getting away with murder taxwise,” particularly taking on the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for manipulating the Washington Post to his advantage, clouding public and political judgment with regards to corporate tax policy. Furthermore, Trump attacked a “huge anti-trust problem” in retail.
Munster asserts, “This came after the Washington Post dedicated over 20 reporters to writing a book on Trump’s life. We see this as a defensive, reactionary tactic, where Trump used a mirage of attack points to attempt to implicate Jeff Bezos and, by extension, the credibility of the Washington Post investigation – we do not believe that Trump will pursue these accusations. Moreover, we do not believe that the mechanics are in place for Trump to impact Amazon.”
As far as Trump’s anti-trust claims, Munster does not believe the company appears to “come close to violating any HHI or other anti-trust thresholds,” adding that AMZN has “strong competitors,” including Wal-Mart, Target, and Cost-Co, something the U.S. Department of Justice takes seriously upon close introspection into anti-trust issues.
The looming question is what is Trump capable of achieving in terms of his larger impact on Amazon? “Perhaps the biggest threat to Amazon is the potential for Trump to swing US opinion of the company by starting an investigation into any of the aforementioned matters, regardless of validity. We would be surprised if this route was taken as it could backfire in the press,” Munster concludes.
Therefore, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of AMZN with a $900 price target, which represents just under a 19% increase from current levels.
TipRanks analytics indicate AMZN as a Strong Buy. Out of 33 analysts polled by TipRanks, 31 are bullish on Amazon stock and 2 remain sidelined. With a return potential of 25%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $948.74.