Apple Inc.: Oppenheimer Still Optimistic Despite Recent Drop

Shares of technology giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have plummeted 12.5% since its $132 high despite beating the Street’s fiscal third quarter earnings estimates and posting a strong fiscal fourth quarter 2015 earnings outlook.

Nonetheless, Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz weighed in on Apple on August 10 with an Outperform rating and a $155 price target. Uerkwitz attributes Apple’s recent weakness “to fear over decelerating iPhone growth, a slowing Chinese economy, and lack of new growth drivers.” With that said, the analyst believes “discounting Apple based on these concerns is unjustified.”

In fact, Uerkwitz thinks “Apple’s growth potential in China, the overall smartphone market, and in other products is underappreciated.” Additionally, the analyst cites “a major shift in tech investor sentiment, from smartphone-centered names to internet-centered names.”

One of Apple’s biggest growth drivers is iPhone sales in China, which were booming up until recently when the Chinese economy began deteriorating. Despite the recent struggles in China, Uerkwitz believes “the iPhone’s growth in China is not over” and estimates “China’s iPhone installed base will surpass that of the US in 2015 while maintaining above-market [year-over-year] growth.” Furthermore, Uerkwitz sees “market dynamics in the Chinese market that favor Apple’s stability, user interface, and ecosystem over Android’s price, openness, and flexibility.”

As such, Uerkwitz anticipates that high-end Android users worldwide will continue switching to the iPhone and expects “the same iOS share gain story in China to proliferate in other high-growth, low-penetration emerging markets at the same time as smartphone users become more sophisticated and richer.”

Uerkwitz also believes Apple’s service revenues from iTunes and the App Store are overlooked by investors as “a future revenue and profit driver.” The analyst expects “a quickly expanding installed base in emerging markets will make service revenues the fastest growing segment in Apple.” He also sees “new services such as Apple Music adding substantial upside.”

On average, Andrew Uerkwitz has a 55% success rate recommending stocks and a +2.2% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. The analyst has rated Apple 21 times since 2012, earning a 54% success rate recommending the stock and a +1.8% average return per recommendation.

There are currently 33 analysts polled by TipRanks who have rated Apple within the last 3 months. Of the 33 analysts, 22 are bullish on Apple, 6 are neutral, and 2 are bearish. The average 12-month price target for Apple is $150.93, marking a 27.78% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Apple is Moderate Buy.

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