US stocks are mostly higher in afternoon trading Friday, as investors worked through another mixed batch of corporate earnings. Among the equities in focus today are iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google’s parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and online travel company Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE). Let’s take a closer look:
Despite the recent rally in Apple’s shares this week, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White believes that the tech giant remains undervalued and on the verge of entering positive territory very soon. White reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $185, while highlighting AAPL as a top pick for investors for the second half of 2016.
White wrote, “After a stronger than expected 3Q:FY16 performance and 4Q:FY16 outlook earlier this week, we believe sentiment around Apple is starting to shift from a “gloom and doom” mentality to a more positive tone that we expect will drive multiple expansion.”
The analyst continued, “We believe there has been a misunderstanding around the reasons for the iPhone unit declines over the past two quarters and thus concerns are overblown. In our view, macro environment (FX, GDP) has played a role and so has elongated smartphone upgrade cycles. However, we believe the most significant factor has been the massive upgrade cycle with the iPhone 6 that drove 37% iPhone unit growth in FY:15. As a consequence, the upgrade rates with the iPhone 6s were muted and we are projecting a 9% YoY decline in iPhone units in FY:16. We believe the iPhone unit cycle troughed in 2Q:FY16 and we expect iPhone unit growth to return in 2Q:FY17 with iPhone 7 and for FY:17.”
White has a very good TipRanks score with a 61% success rate and he stands at #90 out of 4,087 on the analyst leaderboard. White also has a 19.1% average return when recommending AAPL.
Out of the 51 analysts polled by TipRanks, 40 rate Apple stock a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 3 recommend a Sell. With a return potential of 20%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $125.22.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter is out with a favorable report on Amazon, after the online shopping giant reported second-quarter results, which came in comfortably above Street expectations. Pachter raised his price target for AMZN from $835 to $900, while maintaining an Outperform rating.
Pachter wrote, “After years of uneven profits, Amazon is finally delivering substantial earnings growth. The company’s outsized earnings beats in 1H:16 appear to be a signal that it is focused on growing profits; Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) gross and operating margins have grown as revenues continue to ramp, the mix of Fulfillment by Amazon (“FBA”) and AWS is likely to drive further gross margin expansion, and Prime membership growth has continued unabated. We expect the monthly Prime subscription offering to substantially inflate the number of Prime customers seasonally, particularly around the holidays. Offsetting gross margin expansion, we expect Amazon to materially increase its spending on video content by $500 million/year from an estimated $3 – 3.5 billion in 2016.”
“Given the potential for far more dramatic earnings growth, management’s spending discipline, and the likelihood for continued gross margin expansion, we believe a substantial portion of future revenue growth will translate to substantial EPS growth,” the analyst concluded.
As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, analyst Michael Pachter has a yearly average return of -1.3% and a 49.7% success rate. Pachter has a 26.8% average return when recommending AMZN, and is ranked #3341 out of 4087 analysts.
Out of the 45 analysts polled by TipRanks, 40 rate Amazon stock a Buy, while 5 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 9.2%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $822.13.
Shares of Google’s parent Alphabet is up 4% this afternoon, after the search engine giant released its second-quarter results, beating Street expectations and bouncing back after a slight miss last quarter. Gross revenue and NEPS of $21,500 million and $8.42 handily exceeded consensus expectations of $20,650M, and $8.04, respectively.
In reaction, Cantor analyst Youssef Squali raised his price target for the stock to $1000 (from $940), while maintaining a Buy rating. The new price target represents a potential upside of 25% from where the stock is currently trading.
Squali commented, “Alphabet reported another impressive quarter with strength across product types and geographies, resulting in revenue and EPS comfortably ahead of Street expectations. Mobile search in particular was strong driven by changes made in 3Q:15, but video and programmatic helped drive the robust results as well. Our BUY rating is predicated on 1) sustainable double-digits growth in core search, 2) strong growth in display facilitated by YouTube/Programmatic, 3) disciplined cost allocation across core Google and Other Bets, and 4) compelling valuation relative to growth prospects.”
Youssef Squali is one of Google’s biggest bulls, and he is also one of the top analysts rated who cover the stock. According to TipRanks, the analyst has a yearly average return of 14.3% and a 68% success rate. Squali has a 21.4% average return when recommending GOOGL, and is ranked #8 out of 4087 analysts.
Out of the 46 analysts polled by TipRanks, 45 rate Alphabet Inc. stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 14.7%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $920.50.
Expedia shares are down nearly 3% to $116.15, after the online travel booking giant reported mixed second-qaurter results, with lower-than-expected revenue but higher EPS and EBITDA. In reaction, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney reduced his price target from $165 to $160, while maintaining an Outperform rating on the stock.
Mahaney stated, “We would be buyers of this weakness. While fundamentals have decelerated in 1H:16, in part due to integration turbulence, we believe results should improve in 2H. Expedia remains an excellent play on the secular growth in Online Travel and as a strong integrator of assets. Plus, a potential Trivago IPO could serve as a catalyst and offset macro or competitive concerns we sense building around the story. Finally current valuation is reasonable (9x ’17 EBITDA), given its growth profile, strong balance sheet and dividend paying status.”
Mahaney is one of the top analysts on Wall Street covering technology. According to TipRanks, his picks average a 20.3% percent one-year return, and he’s ranked #9 out of 4087 analysts. Mahaney has a 11.2% average return when recommending EXPE.
Out of the 20 analysts polled by TipRanks, 11 rate Expedia stock a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends Sell. With a return potential of 17.7%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $137.33.