Harriet Lefton

About the Author Harriet Lefton

Harriet originates from the UK where she worked as a journalist specializing in the metal markets. She graduated from the University of Cambridge before becoming a qualified UK lawyer.

What You Need to Know Ahead of Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Facebook Inc (FB) Earnings Reports

This is a big week for the market as the earnings calendar shows: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases its second quarter fiscal earnings report on May 2, followed by social media giant Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) first quarter results on May 3.

Ahead of these all-important dates, we wanted to dive in and see what top analysts are predicting for these two tech giants:

Apple: All About the Super Cycle

Consensus estimates for the stock come in at $2 EPS on revenue of $53 billion, with Needham’s Laura Martin forecasting iPhone unit sales of 53.35 million. But it’s not the numbers that have the market buzzing; it’s the earnings conference call Q&A. Investors want to know more about the upcoming iPhone x’s radical redesign (dubbed the iPhone 8) as well as recent rumors suggesting that the iPhone 8 will be delayed two months until October/ November due to complex hardware upgrades.

Indeed for five-star Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson, this quarter’s results may prove to be uneventful but ultimately “any unexpected ‘hiccups’ in results would likely be glossed over as investors focus on the upcoming iPhone launch.” He concludes: “We recommend owning AAPL due to the expectation for growing anticipation around iPhone 8 and a strong ongoing trajectory for services revenue.”

Olson reiterated his buy rating on the stock with a $155 price target (7.9% upside from the current share price of $143.65) on April 26. By clicking on the AAPL ticker on his TipRanks profile page, we can see that he has a very impressive AAPL track record of 100% success rate and 11.7% average return.

Top Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha is even more confident in his forecast of a major iPhone 8 super cycle. His price target of $170-176 price target gives Apple a whopping value of close to $1 trillion. According to Garcha, “Over the course of the next year, we continue to believe that an iPhone 8 super cycle (starting with 3 models, one of which will be OLED [display]) should drive up replacement rates and drive new customers.”

TipRanks reveals that while the consensus outlook for Apple has shifted to Moderate Buy on concerns about consumers becoming more cautious with spending, the consensus rating from only the best-performing analysts remains Strong Buy with a price target of $155 (8% upside).

Facebook: Is Instagram the ‘New Facebook’?

Facebook is one of the market’s favorite stocks. Out of 38 analyst recommendations polled by TipRanks in the last three months, 36 of these ratings have been a buy. Now the market is forecasting $7.82 billion in revenue, and $0.88 in EPS a remarkable increase from the EPS in the same quarter last year of $0.6.

Why so bullish? One key word keeps popping up: Instragram, the photo-sharing app bought by Facebook back in 2012 for $1 billion which has now shot past the 700 million monthly-active-users (MAU) target. Top analyst Colin Sebastian at Baird calls it “the most rapid addition of 100M users in the platform’s history” while Needham’s Laura Martin says it will be a strong contributor to FB in 2017.

This Instagram momentum should help Facebook ride through the stabilization of ad revenue growth, says Sebastian who notes that “Instagram engagement levels have improved following the rollout of features largely copied from Snapchat’s ephemeral sharing platform, with Instagram Stories now boasting over 200M DAUs (vs. SNAP DAUs of ~160M), in addition to new AR filters and Custom Geostickers (similar to SNAPs lenses/sponsored filters).” The five-star analyst reiterated his buy rating on the stock with a $163 price target (8.5% upside).


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