Apple Inc. Gets Price Target Hike Ahead of Earnings; Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Excited

Tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) received a price-target hike from a Wall Street firm on Thursday, two weeks ahead of its fiscal first-quarter earnings report.

Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba raised his price target on AAPL to $175 (from $160) due to potential upside to near-term estimates. However, the analyst reiterated a Neutral rating on the stock as he sees limited upside to the stock price from current levels. (To watch Lamba’s track record, click here)

Heading into the print, “Consensus iPhone ASP assumptions seem very conservative”, Lamba says. “Based on our checks, we see potential upside to unit/ASP estimates for the December quarter despite a greater than normal drop in demand for the latest version of iPhone. Our conversations indicate some softness in iPhone X demand exiting December quarter with a potentially steeper than normal production decline heading into the March quarter, which would impact ASPs as well. However, we see continued conservatism in consensus expectations for the March quarter that might have upside.”

The analyst continued, “Our thesis remains unchanged – we acknowledge the upgrade cycle opportunity and admit that near-term business has been stronger than our initial expectations, but we could experience a steeper than normal drop in June and September forecasts before the next product cycle hits. The recent battery replacement issue will likely result in further elongation of the replacement cycle, which could contribute to an air-pocket prior to the next product release.”

If we turn to the Street in general, we can see that AAPL stock also has a Buy analyst consensus rating. In the last three months, the stock has received 21 buy, and 8 hold ratings. These analysts have an average price target on the stock of $193.92. Given that AAPL is currently trading at $179.26, this suggests an upside from the current share price of close to 8%.

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