The most anticipated report of the entire earnings season will be released after today’s closing bell. Brean Capital analyst Ananda Baruah and FBR Capital Daniel Ives weighed in on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings.
Brean Capital’s Baruah believes that Apple could deliver Sep Q/Dec Q EPS of $2.00 & $3.29. That said, she believes the next true elongated stock “move” will be determined by what CY16 iPhone ships can look like, and the Street likely won’t have a view on that until April when AAPL reports the Mar Q.
Baruah noted, “We continue to believe that Street numbers are materially low through ’17. Fundamentally speaking, we believe AAPL stands to deliver material EPS upside from 1) favorable GM from both iPhones and iPhone mix (more 6 Plus’ than realized), and 2) materially more Opex $ leverage through at least ’16 as AAPL realizes the benefits from the recent iPhone 6 and iWatch investment cycles. Our $170 TP is 13x our ’17 EPS estimate of $12.73.”
Baruah reiterated a Buy rating on Apple shares, with a price target of $170, which implies an upside of 48% 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 total average return of -3.5% and a 49.0% success rate. Baruah has a -6.0% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #3504 out of 3802 analysts.
Out of the 49 analysts polled by TipRanks, 35 rate Apple stock a Buy, 12 rate the stock a Hold and 2 recommend a Sell. With a return potential of 29%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $148.21.
Ahead of the earnings announcement, FBR Capital Daniel Ives joined the crowd, maintaining an Outperform rating on AAPL without indicating a price target.
For Q4, Ives expects revenues of $50.9 billion, EPS of $1.89 and iPhone unit sales of 49 million. These estimates are relatively in-line with the analyst consensus of $51.1 billion in revenue and $1.88 EPS. Ives mentions some concerns, noting, “Apple has become a battleground stock given the confluence of China headwinds, worries about 6s growth prospects, and uninspiring June results.”
The analyst says the Street will be focusing on iPhone guidance for the December quarter. In his opinion, approximately 75 million unit sales is reasonable. Such a guidance will help Tim Cook in proving the iPhone 6s skeptics wrong, because anything below 70 million will be considered bearish. Ives will also be looking at the general outlook for iPhone sales in China. Two factors to look for in China are the macroeconomic situtation and the growing competition from key players like Xiaomi and Huawei.
Going into FY16, Ives believes Apple’s 6s phones are on firm footing. Ives is optimistic for several reasons, including the fact that to-date, less than 30% of iPhone owners have upgraded their iPhones. Furthermore, the innovative features in the 6s model like ForceTouch are driving sales.
Ives says the company also has a “massive greenfield opportunity” in the high-end smartphone market and strong growth opportunities in streaming TV, wearables, software/services and App ecosystem. Apart from iPhones, Ives says the Street will also be looking at iPad sales, details of unit sales of the Apple Watch, and the growth trajectory for Apple Music.
Ives has a 55% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +5% per recommendation. According to TipRanks, out of 36 analysts who have recently rated TipRanks’ stock, 27 have rated it as a Buy, 8 have rated it as Hold, and 1 has rated it as Sell. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $146.41, an upside of 26% over current levels.