What to Expect From Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Facebook Inc (FB) This Earnings Season: Analysts

Analysts today offer an overview of what to expect from tech giants such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as the earnings season gets underway. Let’s take a closer look:

Apple Inc.

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White confidently anticipates strong results from Apple, as the tech giant is set to deliver third quarter results tomorrow, July 26, after markets close. White reiterates an Outperform rating with a price target of $185.00, noting a close to 88% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Apple has faced what White indicates as “gloom and doom” doldrums that affected investor sentiment from late 2012 through the summer of 2013, a negative cycle that the analyst believes has come back to haunt Apple late 2015 through 2016. However, White contends that, “Akin to the dog days of 2013, we believe this summer will prove to be a bottoming process for Apple’s stock with our estimates pointing to a trough in the sales cycle, profit cycle and iPhone unit cycle in the June quarter.”

White has faith that with this upcoming third quarter earnings, Apple will reach expectations of $42.05 billion in revenue. White’s expectations are actually slightly below consensus at $42.12 billion. Meanwhile, the analyst also anticipates that not only will Apple meet his projection for earnings per share of $1.37 (compared to consensus forecast of $1.38), but that the company will go above and beyond. Apple itself had guidance for third quarter in these ranges, implying it could easily exceed expectation.

Part of White’s bullishness lies in the success of Apple’s key September 2014 launches of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus- upgrades that drove unit growth up 37% for the fiscal year of 2015. Consider that broken down, split to nearly 13% increases for each year in this period. White braces a favorable market launch for rumors of the iPhone 7 to arrive sometime in September; a launch that only bodes for positive growth for in 2017, and one White predicts will generate $10 to $15 billion in annual sales by the fiscal year of 2021.

Consensus forecasts have fourth quarter revenue at $45.88 billion and earnings per share of $1.62; White estimates more conservatively at $44.19 billion and $1.48, respectively. White explains, “We believe Apple’s 4Q:FY16 outlook can straddle our projections; however, the Street forecast appears a bit aggressive to us. Ahead of a major new iPhone release with the iPhone 7, we expect Apple to leave some wiggle room in its 4Q:FY16 outlook.”

As usual, we believe it is important to provide the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give key perspective on the impact it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, Brian White has earned a ranking of #98 out of 4,081 analysts, coupled with a 60% success rate and garnering an average of 9% in annual returns.

TipRanks analytics exhibits AAPL as a Strong Buy. Consider that out of 38 analysts polled about the stock in the past 3 months, the overall consensus demonstrates 84% rate a Buy, 13% maintain a hold, and 3% issue a Sell. The overall average price target for Apple stands at $124.15, marking a close to 26% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Facebook Inc

Ahead of Facebook’s second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, July 27, Cantor analyst Youssef Squali  remains bullish on the stock, reiterating a Buy rating with a price target of $150.00, a slight 23% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Consider that social ad spending has incited the most rapid fire growth for online advertising to date; the fact that Facebook has seen sustained appetite for more and more online advertising, in Squali’s view, is sure to place the internet giant in a favorable spot as 2Q:16 earnings roll in tomorrow.

Ad revenue growth for Squali is expected to see an increase of 51.5%. The analyst estimates $5,974.3 million in revenue and $3,496.8 in earnings for this coming quarter’s results. Favorable, but not without modest hopes, Squali estimates just slightly under the Street, as he also anticipates some deceleration when it comes to ad revenue, social network users, and their engagement during this quarter.

Still, Squali affirms, “FB remains a top pick for us, given its position as the largest/most engaging mass-reach Internet platform for advertisers, unmatched targeting potential, and very potent monetization formats.” Squali models for monthly active users to increase by 14.6% to 1.708 billion users this term, but again, with a NEPS estimate of $0.68 more modest than the Street’s forecast of $0.81. The analyst does predict that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and its implementation of video on the site to “start moving the needle more meaningfully” once this fiscal year’s second quarter hits.

Meanwhile, applications like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Occulus in the bigger picture offer potential for upside looking into the future. Until now, Facebook Mobile has driven the most significant amount of growth for the tech titan. For as far ahead as into the fiscal year for 2017, the analyst can see a sustainable growth of 40% with potential for even further development.

As usual, we find it important to provide a track record for an analyst when reporting on new notes to give key perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, Youssef Squali has earned a high ranking at #5 out of 4,081 analysts, upholding a 69% success rate and yielding 15.2% in his average returns.

TipRanks analytics indicates FB to be a Strong Buy. To provide context, 39 analysts polled about FB stock in the last 3 months. Of this consensus, 92% rate a Buy with 8% remaining maintaining a Hold. The average price target stands at $146.71, marking a 21% upside from where shares last closed.


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