UBS analyst Steven Milunovich, though largely positive on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the midst of a launch week that has other carriers commending the tech giant for a stellar iPhone 7 lineup, dives deeper behind-the-scenes.
Following Evidence Lab analysis evaluating search volumes circling AAPL’s announcement, the analyst notes interest for the iPhone 7 falls behind that for the iPhone 6, albeit is stronger than for the 6s.
Though the investor world has been buzzing with excitement, with many analysts leading a bullish parade for AAPL, Milunovich advises, “However, we wouldn’t get carried away. Verizon said it isn’t seeing unusual demand, and we don’t know what is happening in China, where there have not been aggressive promotions. It will come down to how many of the F15 bubble of iPhone buyers will upgrade.”
Additionally, the analyst points to Asia estimates, where the tech team there has indicated an increase in procurement plans to 89 million for the fiscal year of 2017, which Milunovich notes while above iPhone 6s figure of 87 million ultimately falls under the iPhone 6 of 93 million, “which fits our thesis.” From the analyst’s perspective, this might be more of a reflection of timing than demand.
In tracking prior launch announcements for the iPhone, Milunovich recognizes a predictable pattern, where “it tends to trade off before the announcement then move up between announcement and availability.”
“Now history suggests it could fade the next two weeks then move up into earnings. In the absence of first weekend sales data from Apple, carrier comments and speculation have filled the information vacuum,” Milunovich concludes.
Even though the analyst waits to see how the rest of the numbers unfold, Milunovich nonetheless reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AAPL, while raising the price target from $115 to $127, which represents a nearly 12% increase from where the stock is currently trading. Additionally, the analyst boosts his estimate from 41% to 44% and raises his EPS estimate for the fiscal year of 2017 to $9.30.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Steven Milunovich is ranked #899 out of 4,172 analysts. Milunovich has a 55% success rate and gains 2.5% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Milunovich earns 4.9% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics exhibit AAPL as a Strong Buy. Based on 36 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 31 rate a buy on AAPL, 4 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $127.23, marking a 12% upside from where the shares last closed.