Top analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray is weighing in on three tech giants in his coverage universe, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). Despite constrained iPhone inventory evident in the U.S. for Apple, the analyst remains positive when it comes to the bigger picture. Meanwhile, though earnings from Yahoo did nothing to excite investors, Munster’s eyes stay peeled toward the likely Verizon acquisition ahead. With regards to eBay, Munster notes, “We would not be owners” of the stock and believes “these stripes aren’t changing.”
Gene Munster has a very good TipRanks score with a 67% success rate and he stands at #6 out of 4,180 analysts on the leaderboard. Munster earns 19.1% in his annual returns. When recommending AAPL, Munster garners 12.2% in average profits on the stock. When suggesting YHOO, Munster gains 10.4% in average profits on the stock. When rating EBAY, Munster yields 3.1% in average profits on the stock. Let’s take a closer look:
Recently, Munster did an in-store analysis of Apple’s iPhone 7 availability. Based on 134 Apple Stores in the U.S. 40% of SKUs that the analyst checked were available for in-store pickup, in contrast with 44% just two weeks ago. The iPhone 7 continues to rule the majority over the iPhone 7 Plus when considering available devices.
Meanwhile, China’s iPhone availability has risen to 12% from 10% two weeks prior. The analyst adds, “Outside of the US, we are unable to capture iPhone availability at Apple Stores, but can capture similar data from 96 China Unicom stores in China,” and the data continues to reveal inventory in China is “more constrained” than in the U.S.
Munster asserts, “We continue to believe that the limited supply of the iPhone 7 should be positive for the Dec quarter outlook as demand shifts from September to December. Despite the supply, we remain comfortable with Sep revenue of $47.5B vs. Street of $46.5B. We remain positive on shares of AAPL on our continued belief in an iPhone 7 cycle and the iPhone 10 potential next year.”
Bullish on the tech titan’s long-term, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of AAPL with a $151 price target, which represents a nearly 29% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
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 $130.42, marking an 11% upside from where the shares last closed.
Yahoo posted its third-quarter print on Tuesday, October 18th with both quarterly revenue and fourth-quarter revenue guidance that underperformed the Street. Yet, Munster considers the internet giant’s recent earnings a “non-event” and remains bullish on the company’s prospects ahead of its likely impending deal with Verizon.
As such, Munster reiterates an Overweight rating on YHOO with a price target of $44, which represents just under a 3% increase from where the shares last closed.
While Yahoo’s core business strikes the analyst as “unsurprisingly uninspiring” considering the company is navigating the path of a merger, Munster notes he is “not surprised to see Q4 revenue headwinds as talent drain could hurt the core business in the near-term.” For Munster, its performance this past quarter is very much “expected.”
YHOO reported third-quarter ex-TAC revenue of $858 million, “essentially in-line” with consensus at $860.8 million and in the bracket of past guidance for $840 to $880 million. Meanwhile, the giant guided fourth-quarter revenue to $880 to $920 million, which falls around 4% under the Street’s midpoint projection of $938.1 million. Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA guidance reached $260 to $300 million, compared to the Street’s estimate of $245.9 million.
There was no management earnings call update due to the pending acquisition. From the analyst’s perspective, this is where his focus continues to lie, explaining, “The biggest question around YHOO remains the impact of the reported data breach on its deal with Verizon. While there are media reports that suggest Verizon could use the breach to walk, we believe this is more likely a public negotiating tactic to try to get a lower price on the deal.”
When assessing the size of the deal at $6.4 billion, the analyst sees the downside as “somewhat limited,” if every $1 billion modification is representative of approximately $1 to the stock.
“Additionally, while we would rank YHOO lower on a relative scale of large cap Internet stocks we would own, we remain OW rated given the BABA upside potential, where we believe a positive tax outcome is more likely than not. We maintain our OW rating given the BABA upside potential,” Munster concludes.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate YHOO as a Buy. Based on 23 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 12 rate a Buy on YHOO, while 11 maintain a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $45.74, marking a 7% upside from where the stock is currently trading.
Yesterday, eBay reported its earnings for third-quarter that have sent shares dipping 8%. Munster notes expectations had risen in later weeks with bolstered investor sentiment surrounding prospective chances for structured data to augment eBay’s path of growth. Yet, the online auction and e-commerce leader ultimately underperformed expectations and “inline results and uncertainty around the timing to an acceleration in growth” led to the stock’s downward plunge in after-hours trading.
On back of these results, the analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on shares of EBAY with a $28 price target, which represents a nearly 7% downside from where the stock is currently trading.
EBAY posted quarterly gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $20.1 billion, which fell slightly under the Street’s expectation for $20.3 billion. Meanwhile, revenue of $2.2 billion and EPS of $0.45 were “fractionally ahead of expectations.” EBAY management boosted guidance “immaterially” to $2.36 billion to $2.41 billion for fourth-quarter revenue and $0.52 to $0.54 for EPS.
Munster opines, “The Q3 report indicated that eBay’s growth problem is complex and structured data is not the governor on eBay’s growth – we believe eBay faces structural brand and product issues that are not going to be solved by structured data, which is more of a necessity for a modern website than a new user acquisition tool or a differentiating feature. eBay’s place on the internet is not changing and we believe shares are trading within a reasonable range of fair value and, therefore, we are remaining Neutral.”
However, “We would become more optimistic on eBay’s story if the company began designing more significant brand pivoting efforts, improved user experience to match the quality of other eCommerce platforms, or accelerate investments in higher-touch services to aid platform quality (i.e. eBay Valet),” the analyst contends.
TipRanks analytics as a Buy. Based on 22 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 10 rate a Buy on EBAY, 11 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $33.78, marking a nearly 4% upside from where the shares last closed.