Apple Inc. (AAPL) Price Target Raised Ahead of ‘Busy Fall’ for iPhone, Caution on Tesla Inc (TSLA) Amid Significant Execution Risk

Analysts from BMO and Oppenheimer are sharing mixed insights on two of the kings of the tech-verse: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Whereas one analyst continues to commend Apple, believing the sophisticated iPhone X is about to further solidify the giant’s place in the tech stratosphere, another analyst is cautious considering Tesla’s sky-high push for Model 3 production- specifically with regards to execution. Let’s dive in:

Apple’s iPhone X Cycle to Be Best Success Since 2014

Apple might be on the brink of a high-end roll-out this September, with the Street clamoring in anticipating to see what the iPhone X, the 10th anniversary edition of the first iPhone model has in store for the tech giant’s future. BMO analyst Tim Long is backing Apple all the way, as he continues to see ten years into the game, Apple reigns as king.

Therefore, ahead of expected iPhone portfolio modifications due this year, the analyst reiterates an Outperform on shares of AAPL while lifting the price target from $142 to $160, which represents a just under 18% increase from where the stock is currently trading. Additionally, for the fiscal year of 2017, the analyst boosts his EPS projection from $8.99 to $9.13 and for fiscal 2018 from $10.15 to $10.40.

Long sees the new model as a catalyst for escalated ASPs for a company “which already commands the highest selling prices in the industry,” continuing, “We believe Apple will introduce a higher-priced model (or potentially two) in September alongside the standard iterative refresh to iPhone 7. We are raising our ASP estimates in conjunction with the higher mix.”

From the analyst’s eyes, September will mark the “biggest refresh cycle since iPhone 6,” and he anticipates Apple stands to receive the largest gains since then as well, asserting, “We expect some cannibalization of both regular and large-screen models but still model 11 million of net incremental unit growth in the first 12 months, which would make the upcoming cycle the most successful refresh cycle since iPhone 6 was launched in 2014.”

Praising the giant’s “attractive” valuation, “As the largest publicly traded company, Apple is continuing the decade-long trend of the biggest player trading at a discount to the market,” Long concludes.

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, five-star analyst Tim Long is ranked #390 out of 4,499 analysts. Long has a 61% success rate and gains 10.5% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Long garners 26.5% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate AAPL as a Strong Buy. Out of 35 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 28 are bullish on Apple stock and 7 remain sidelined. With a return potential of nearly 5%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $142.31.

Tesla’s Ambitious Run-Rate Goals Are Risky

Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch is chiming in from the sidelines on Tesla amid aggressive strides towards pulling off a Model 3 production ramp this coming July, with the electric car giant gaming to spend $2.0 to $2.5 billion in capex during the first half of 2017. Awaiting a clearer picture and cautious largely on the giant’s execution, the analyst reiterates a Perform rating on TSLA without listing a price target.

For the giant’s second quarter, TSLA brought in $2,285 million in revenue, outclassing consensus of $2.16 billion. However, there was a greater loss than anticipated with non-GAAP EPS of ($0.69) compared to consensus expectations of $0.53. Auto revenue generated $1,994 million, Energy Generation & Storage revenue reached $131.4 million, and Service/Other revenue hit $19.1 million. Automotive gross margin fell to 22.2%, but shipments were just ahead of management’s guidance issued January 3rd, with 22,252 beating the forecast of 22,200. Accordingly, the analyst has raised both revenue expectations for the financial year of 2017 from $8.94 billion to $10.13 billion and non-GAAP EPS from ($0.15) to ($0.42).

For the first half of 2017, CEO Elon Musk is calling for 47 to 50K in vehicle shipments, which is a miss compared to consensus of 51K. By the fourth quarter of this year, the giant hopes to achieve a yearly production run rate of approximately 250K vehicles, steamrolling beyond roughly 500K some time by 2018.

Rusch opines, “TSLA highlighted delays in autopilot software release, forex headwinds, and increased fixed asset dispositions. We continue to believe GM will be a critical indicator of manufacturing efficiency. We expect some noise in GM through 2017 with 2018 as a clearer indicator of the company’s progress.”

“Management believes it would be prudent to raise capital to de-risk its production ramp. We agree and believe clarity on the company’s capital plan and completion of a capital raise would be a positive catalyst for shares. We believe guidance for 250k annual production runrate by 4Q17 is ahead of Street expectations and comes with significant execution risk. As the company works toward lofty manufacturing efficiency goals in scaling to 1M annual vehicle production targets, we expect bears to focus on earnings power of the business by 2020. We remain on the sidelines given execution risk looking for clarity on capital structure,” Rusch surmises.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Colin Rusch is ranked #544 out of 4,499 analysts. Rusch has a 49% success and realizes 9.7% in his yearly returns. When suggesting TSLA, Rusch yields 96.0% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics show TSLA as a Hold. Based on 16 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 6 rate a Buy on Tesla stock, 6 maintain a Hold, while 4 issue a Sell on the stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $247.46, marking a 3% downside from where the stock is currently trading.

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