Analysts Weigh In on Two Stock Giants: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Priceline Group Inc (PCLN)

Analysts are weighing in on the technology giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and online travel giant Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN), with positive ratings and views.

Apple Inc.

FBR Capital analyst Daniel Ives, one of Apple’s biggest bulls, weighed in with a few predictions on Apple heading into 2016. The analyst maintained an Outperform rating on AAPL, with a price target of $175, which represents a potential upside of 45% from where the stock is currently trading.

Ives offered five predictions for the Apple story: (1) iPhone sales will top Street initial estimates for FY16 on the heels of strong 6s sales with a boost from legacy 6 upgrades; (2) streaming TV will finally be announced in C1H16, as the analyst believes this remains central to Cook’s streaming plans and will open up a major “game-changing” opportunity for Apple to penetrate the consumer living room; (3) China will represent a $100 billion market opportunity for Apple on the iPhone front, remain white hot despite macro fears, and comprise its biggest geographic region by late 2017; (4) iPad Pro sales will help reverse the negative tablet trend seen over the last year, with success being found on the enterprise market and thus representing 15% of Apple’s revenues (versus ~10% today); and (5) Apple’s electric car endeavor, code-named Project Titan, will gain steam by continuing to hire cutting-edge auto industry experts and dedicating significant R&D and potential technology acquisitions in the next-generation auto arena down the road, making this initiative a 60%–70% possibility by 2020 based on our analysis.

The analyst concluded, “The wild card remains a potential $75 billion to $100 billion increased buyback, which could be on the horizon, in our opinion, during the course of 2016 given the mounting pile of cash in the coffer.”

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Daniel Ives has a total average return of 6.2% and a 58.2% success rate. Ives has a 2.4% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #453 out of 3832 analysts.

Out of the 49 analysts polled by TipRanks, 37 rate Apple stock a Buy, 10 rate the stock a Hold and 2 recommend Sell. With a return potential of 24%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $149.10.

Priceline Group Inc

In a research report released yesterday, Oppenheimer analyst Jed Kelly reiterated an Outperform rating on Priceline shares, and reduced the price target to $1545 (from $1,580), after the company released its third-quarter earnings report that failed to live up to Wall Street’s high expectations.

Kelly noted, “PCLN shares traded down 9% on room-night deceleration from the Bangkok bombing and merchant booking softness. We believe one-time items contributed more to slower growth, than increasing competitive pressures, based on’s unique inventory count. In our view, slower bookings overshadow the strong fundamental trends such as stable commissions, total advertising leverage on gross profit (-50bps y/y), and aggressive buy-backs, that caused a 5% non-GAAP EPS beat. With shares at 19x our revised 2016E non-GAAP EPS, we believe current levels offer a favorable entry point for long-term investors, given our high-teens EPS growth forecast and management’s commitment to returning capital through buybacks.”

According to, analyst Jed Kelly has a total average return of 21% and a 80% success rate. Kelly is ranked #856 out of 3832 analysts.

Out of the 19 analysts polled by TipRanks, 13 rate Priceline stock a Buy, while 6 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 9.5%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $1435.80.




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