Apple Inc. (AAPL) to Stir Investor Excitement in 2018, Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) Heads into Best Quarter of the Year: Top Analysts

In a preview ahead of Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) hyped iPhone 8 September launch and Cisco Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CSCO) third fiscal quarter financial results to be delivered tomorrow, Wall Street’s top analysts from Canaccord and Drexel Hamilton alike back these two tech players.

Canaccord sees everything coming up Apple for 2018, even if there was some sluggish demand for the iPhone 7 Plus, as the analyst expects all the consumer’s eager dollars are waiting for the 10th anniversary edition iPhone model. Regarding Cisco’s earnings, Drexel Hamilton anticipates the network giant will at the minimum meet the analyst’s expectations for revenue, continuing to praise its dividend yield and valuation opportunity for investors. Let’s dive in:

2018 Looks Good for Apple

Apple gets a price target lift from top analyst Michael Walkley at Canaccord, who is looking for robust demand for the tech giant’s fresh iPhone line-up gearing up for a September launch. Therefore, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AAPL while boosting the price target from $165 to $180, which represents a 15% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

The first quarter of the year, the tech giant stole a nice slice of market share from the smartphone market across the globe, responsible for 83% of industry profits. However, this marks a bit of a dip from 8% in the fourth quarter, which the analyst attributes to a Samsung comeback along with competition from LG and Sony. Larger spectrum, the bottom line for the analyst is that the giant is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to smartphone industry profits, as Apple is dominating.

Walkley asserts, “We remain impressed with strong Q1 iPhone sales of 50.8M despite growing consumer anticipation for the upcoming iPhone 8 launch in September. With supply meeting demand for the iPhone 7 Plus in January, we anticipate seasonally slower iPhone sales and decreasing inventory levels during the June and part of the September quarters as consumers delay purchases ahead of the anticipated iPhone 8 launch in September.”

Looking ahead, “We believe the iPhone installed base will exceed 635M exiting C2017, and this impressive installed base should drive strong iPhone replacement sales and earnings, as well as cash flow generation to fund strong long-term capital returns,” the analyst contends, predicting, “We anticipate a stronger upgrade cycle in C2018 with the 10-year anniversary iPhone 8, as our surveys indicate strong consumer interest in and anticipation for new iPhones anticipated to launch in September.”

Michael Walkley has a very good TipRanks score with a 66% success rate and has a high ranking of #28 out of 4,572 analysts. Walkley garners 21.1% in his yearly returns. When recommending AAPL, Walkley yields 20.6% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate AAPL as a Strong Buy. Out of 32 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 26 are bullish on Apple stock, 5 remain sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of 4%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $162.04.

Investors Will Continue to Like Cisco Shares

Cisco releases its third fiscal quarterly results for the year tomorrow after the close and as such, top analyst Brian White at Drexel Hamilton is out with an earnings preview, calling for a domestic outclass and the network giant’s best seasonal time of the year. Ahead of the print, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on CSCO with a price target of $40, which represents a close to 17% increase from where the shares last closed.

For the third fiscal quarter, the analyst projects revenue of $11.84 billion, slightly below the Street’s expectations calling for $11.90 billion, and EPS of $0.58, which aligns with the Street. The network giant’s outlook implies sales will dip 2% to flat year-over-year, from $11.76 billion to $12.0 billion, with pro forma EPS of $0.57 to $0.59. Notably, though the company closed its AppDynamics acquisition at the end of March, this is not currently included in Cisco’s guidance.

From White’s stance, the tide of investor confidence is on this giant’s side, as he notes, “We continue to believe Cisco’s stock will receive investor support given the company’s rich dividend yield, attractive valuation (11.4x CY:18, ex-cash), expanding recurring revenue contribution, consistent execution and prime position as a beneficiary of potential revisions in repatriation policies. Also, Cisco is heading into its seasonally strongest quarter of the year.”

Overall, “We expect Cisco to show outperformance in the Americas but continue to struggle in emerging markets, while we believe the service provider product order cycle bottomed out in 1Q:FY17 (down 12% YoY). Moreover, we expect Cisco to play up its rising recurring revenue mix (31% in 2Q:FY17) and expanding software presence,” surmises the analyst.

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, top five-star analyst Brian White has achieved a high ranking of #117 out of 4,572 analysts. White upholds a 66% success rate and realizes 11.4% in his yearly returns. When suggesting CSCO, White earns 13.4% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate CSCO as a Strong Buy. Based on 14 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 11 rate a Buy on Cisco stock while 3 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $37.73, marking a 10% upside from where the stock is currently trading.


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