Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is still riding the wave from the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September of this year, despite complaints about short supply. Some have speculated that Apple purposefully stunted production to increase the hype around the product, though others doubt that was intentional because the new phones immediately shattered records, selling over 10 million units in 3 days.
Despite the imbalance of iPhone 6 supply and demand, Apple shares have increased since the release of the iPhone 6 from about $101 to nearly $113 on December 23rd. Apple reached an all-time high of $119 in late November. Bullish analysts expect momentum from the iPhone 6 to carry the tech stock well into 2015.
On December 23rd, analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray reiterated an overweight rating on AAPL with a $135 price target. Munster is confident that iPhone 6 demand will remain strong and that supply will improve. The firm conducted a survey of US consumers “looking to purchase a smartphone in the next three months.” Results from the survey suggest that demand for the iPhone 6 “has increased since the phone launched in September.” Munster also checked 80 Apple retail stores and found that 77.6% of them had the iPhone 6 in stock, compared to 56% last week.
Munster has a 69% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +28% average return per investment.
On December 22nd, analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen & Co. maintained an Outperform rating on AAPL, though he did not offer a price target. Arcuri stated that Apple will offer a more affordable iPhone in 2015 along with a 13-inch iPad. Arcuri did not state his sources for these beliefs, but described the new iPhones as being similar to the 5S. He also estimated that the large iPad will sell 15 to 20 million units.
Arcuri has a 75% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +17.7% per recommendation.
Some analysts, such as Aaron Rakers of Stifel Nicolaus, are bullish for other reasons. On December 22nd, Rakers maintained a Buy rating on AAPL with a price target of $130. Rakers focused his analysis on China Mobile’s (NYSE: CHL) and China Unicom’s (NYSE: CHU) November report of operational results, which reflected one month of iPhone 6 availability in China. Rakers noted that both Chinese companies saw increases in mobile subscribers. The analyst admitted that “Though it remains difficult to extract iPhone sales from China Mobile’s subscriber data, we believe investors remain focused on China Mobile’s TD-LTE ramp.” Now that iPhones are available in China, “We continue to estimate that Apple could ship up to 12-14 million iPhones in China alone for the December quarter.”
Rakers has a 75% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +28.1% per recommendation.
Apple has been a popular and profitable stock in 2014 with its blockbuster iPhone 6, but will the tech giant be able to keep up the momentum in the New Year?