Top Analyst Is Three Cheers for Apple Inc. (AAPL) to Bring in Strong iPhone Upgrade Sales

Analyst introduces new expectations for Apple to sell 233 million iPhones in 2019.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has gripped the Street with its exciting cluster of product announcements that one top analyst believes is meeting grand investor expectations.

From unveiling an iPhone X that starts at $999 to a new haul of other products from the iPhone 8 Plus to an Apple TV 4K to the third in the Apple Watch series (this time offering an enticing LTE cellular connectivity option), top analyst Michael Walkley at Canaccord finds these announcements to not only be “consistent” with his hopes for the Apple event in California, but also further fuel backing his “thesis for strong iPhone upgrade sales.”

In reaction, the analyst reiterates a Buy on AAPL stock with a price target of $180, which represents a 13% increase from current levels.

Walkley notes, “We believe the compelling features of iPhone X including OLED display, improved battery life, wireless charging with the Qi standard, and overall improved functionality will lead to strong iPhone sales consistent with our 250M estimate for C2018. We are modeling the global iPhone replacement rate will increase to 32.4% in C2018 from 28.0% in C2017, as the new iPhone features drive a stronger upgrade cycle from Appleā€™s growing installed base.

With a prediction calling for robust upgrades sales next year, the analyst projects a “moderating” upgrade rate to hit in 2019. For 2019, the analyst forecasts iPhone sales to reach 233 million, which leads to his EPS expectations the same year of $11.21.

Overall, the road looks gilded for the tech titan from this top analyst’s eyes: “We believe Apple continues to grow its leading market share of the premium-tier smartphone market and believe the iPhone installed base will exceed 635M exiting C2017. 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. We anticipate a stronger upgrade cycle in C2018 with ramping supply of the high-ASP iPhone X.”

Michael Walkley has a very good TipRanks score with a 64% success rate and a high ranking of #44 out of 4,642 analysts. Walkley realizes 19.3% in his yearly returns. When recommending AAPL, Walkley earns 26.5% in average profits on the stock.

How does Walkley’s bullish praise measure up against the word of the Street? Quite well, it seems, as TipRanks analytics demonstrate AAPL as a Buy. Based on 31 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 23 rate a Buy on Apple stock while 8 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $173.04, marking an 8% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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