Heading into the prints, analysts are weighing in on iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and social media leader Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), as shares of both giants hit their 52-week highs today. Let’s take a closer look:
Apple is scheduled to report its second fiscal quarter earnings tomorrow, May 2, and investors, first and foremost, will be closely watching Apple’s iPhone sales numbers, as they always do.
Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White believes Apple will meet his sales forecast of $53.6 billion and slightly exceed his EPS projection of $2.01 (Street is at $2.02). Recall, Apple’s 2Q:FY17 outlook calls for sales of $51.5-53.5 billion with implied EPS of approximately $1.97. Moreover, the analyst is modeling iPhone units of 51.05 million (flat YoY) and down 35% QoQ.
White wrote, “Apple is currently in the seasonal doldrums for the iPhone as the March and June quarters have historically been the seasonally weakest quarters of the year; however, we believe investors will continue to support the stock ahead of the iPhone 8 cycle that is expected to begin this fall. During 2Q:FY17, FX should be not be as burdensome as feared but certain components (e.g., DRAM) are likely to remain a headwind. ”
“This is also the time of the year when Apple updates Wall Street on its capital return program and we continue to believe a richer dividend yield would help expand the company’s investor base,” the analyst added.
As such, White reiterates a Buy rating on Apple shares, with a price target of $185, which implies an upside of 27% from current levels.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Brian White has a yearly average return of 10.3% and a 65.5% success rate. White has a 23.6% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #141 out of 4569 analysts.
Out of the 48 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 12 months), 37 rate Apple stock a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 3 recommend to Sell. With a return potential of 2%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $149.22.
Ahead of first-quarter results on Wednesday, May 3, Cantor analyst Kip Paulson reiterates a Buy rating on shares of Facebook, with a $175 price target, which represents a potential upside of 15% from where the stock is currently trading.
Paulson commented, “We expect another strong performance from the leading social platform, reflecting solid user growth/engagement; robust demand for Facebook’s mobile-first, digital video, and dynamic ad formats; and an overall enviable position in the digital advertising/media landscape given the substantial and ongoing secular shift toward mobile and digital video. Channel checks and a positive read-through from Alphabet’s stronger-than-expected 1Q17 results last week also bode well for the quarter. Facebook remains a top pick for us given our view of its unmatched global scale/engagement (~1.9B MAUs), industryleading EBITDA margins (~65%) despite elevated investment, and additional upside optionality from Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus over time.”
As usual, we like to include the analyst’s trackrecord when reporting on new analyst notes. According to TipRanks, analyst Kip Paulson has a yearly average return of 13.5% and a 83% success rate. Paulson has a 22% average return when recommending FB, and is ranked #1411 out of 4569 analysts.
The overwhelmingly majority of analyst say Facebook is a “strong buy.” The average forecast is for the stock to hit $163 in the next 12 months, according to data compiled by TipRanks.