Top Analysts Offer Insights on Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Twitter Inc (TWTR) Heading Into Earnings

Wall Street’s top analysts are joining the earnings conversation on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) as the two tech giants prepare to post third-quarter results. Why does Piper Jaffray believe Apple shares are likely to step-up in the next year? What does Axiom have to say about a decline in advertiser demand and challenges ahead for Twitter? Let’s dive in:

Apple Inc.

Heading into Apple’s third-quarter report, set to be delivered October 25th, Piper Jaffray top analyst Gene Munster remains a buyer of the tech titan’s shares with expectations that the shares will continue to climb as the momentous anniversary release date for the iPhone draws near, with the 10th edition due next fall.

As such, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of AAPL with a $151 price target, which represents just under a 30% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

For the third quarter, Munster projects EPS of $1.65 on $47 billion in revenue, mirroring buy side expectations. The analyst anticipates 38.5% in gross margins, which reaches just over buy side at 38%. Meanwhile, Munster expects the titan will bring in iPhone units in the range of 44 to 46 million, with buy side falling at the mid-point of his estimate at 45 million. The analyst believes Mac units will reach 5.2 million, compared to the buy side at 5 million. For iPad units, Munster expects AAPL will hit 8.9 million, which reaches the higher end of buy side’s range of 8.5 to 9.0 million. For next quarter, the analyst anticipates guidance of $74 to $76 billion, with a mid-point that falls “inline” with the Street at $74.7 billion. Additionally, Munster forecasts gross margin guide of 37 to 38% against the buy side at 38%.

The analyst opines, “We expect Apple’s Sep-16 quarter/Dec-16 guide on Tuesday 10/25 to be a largely neutral event for the stock because the Sep quarter and Dec outlook will not impact the two themes that separate buy side thinking on AAPL. One investor camp believes the risk to AAPL is in the Mar-17 and Jun-17 quarters as the tail on iPhone 7 falls off causing units to slow. The second and slightly larger group of investors believe the tail of the iPhone 7 is irrelevant, and is betting that the iPhone 10th Anniversary will yield a jump in growth from flat to up ~15%. We do not expect incremental insight on these two themes from Tuesday’s results and call.”

Ultimately, “We believe the multiple on shares of AAPL will rise over the next 2 years as investors slowly appreciate the sustainability and profitability and services business,” Munster contends.

Gene Munster has a very good TipRanks score with a 66% success store and he stands at #6 out of 4,190 on the analyst leaderboard. Munster garners 17.9% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Munster earns 11.3% 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 price target stands at $130.06, marking a nearly 12% upside from where the shares last closed.

Twitter Inc

As Twitter prepares to deliver its third-quarter print on October 27th, Axiom top analyst Victor Anthony remains sidelined, underscoring that checks have indicated lower advertiser demand for the social media networking giant in comparison to other social media platform competitors.

As such, the analyst reiterates a Hold rating on TWTR with a price target of $16, which represents a nearly 12% downside from where the shares last closed.

For the third quarter, Anthony projects a 6.4% year-over-year increase in revenue of $606 million, adjusted EBITDA of $150 million, and adjusted EPS of $0.09, which mirror consensus. Meanwhile, the analyst estimates monthly active users (MAUs) of 314 million, which marks a 2.3% increase in year-over-year and denotes a 1 million rise from last quarter. Anthony forecasts third-quarter ad revenue of $535 million, a noted 4.4% year-over-year increase. Consensus anticipates fourth quarter will yield a 5.7% year-over-year increase in revenue of $751 million and adjusted EBITDA of $192 million.

Anthony asserts, “Twitter continues to face rising competition for user time from Snapchat and Instagram, and pricing that is at a premium other platforms. While we are encouraged by the traction on live events, they are likely to be immaterial contributors to the quarter for Twitter for both ad and user growth. As a result, we see mostly in-line results. 4Q estimates do look reasonable so we are not anticipating another guide below estimates. Our call on the stock is based on fundamentals, which remain challenged. However, the persistent M&A speculation is likely to dictate price movements and should keep a floor on the stock in the mid-teens.”

From the analyst’s perspective, Twitter is at the height of merger and acquisition “fever,” which he believes will sustain, as he expects those who once “walked away” as prospective acquisition suitors could circle back down the road. Looking at the bigger picture, the analyst notes that Time Warner entered its name into acquisition discussion this weekend after AT&T took over the company. Anthony suspects this will “elevate” the conversation highlighting media content coupled with internet media assets, a discussion that certainly includes Twitter in the mix.

“Despite increasing competition for user mindshare, Twitter is one of the few real-time content and search platforms outside of China,” Anthony 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, top five-star analyst Victor Anthony is ranked #38 out of 4,190 analysts. Anthony upholds a 65% success rate and gains 13.7% in his yearly returns. However, when suggesting TWTR, Anthony faces a loss of 13.8% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate TWTR as a Hold. Based on 33 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 5 rate a Buy on TWTR, 21 maintain a Hold, while 7 issue a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $17.50, marking a 3% downside from where the stock is currently trading.

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