Analysts Weigh in on Apple Inc. (AAPL) Ahead of Earnings

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to post its third quarter earnings for fiscal year 2015 after market close on July 21. With macro concerns surrounding around China and investors’ worries on Apple Watch sales, the tech giant’s shares have pulled back over 6% since the end of May. Nevertheless, analysts agree that Apple’s future prospects will make way for a superb Q3 earnings report.

On July 13, Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald weighed in on Apple, reiterating a Buy rating on the stock with a $195 price target. The analyst’s $195 price target analysis is based on 17x his current 2016 EPS estimate.

In White’s view, “Apple is still in the midst of a transformational, super cycle” with the launch of the Apple Watch. He adds that “a multi-year iPhone cycle given the larger form factor, momentum in China, potential new areas of innovation and a rapidly expanding digital matrix” have all contributed to his bullish sentiments. The analyst believes Apple has huge upside potential in the coming months, noting that it is trading “at just 9.8x” his current 2016 EPS projections.

The largest factor out of Apple’s control is China’s stock market derailment. The analyst believes the crash could potentially take sales away from iPhones but will not likely take Apple’s momentum off course. During the first quarter of 2015, Apple surpassed Xiaomi “to become the #1 vendor in China’s smartphone market.” White continues, “15-20% of the mobile subscribers in China could be candidates for a higher-end smartphone such as the iPhone, representing an opportunity for Apple that [he] estimates at $133 billion to $178 billion.” Essentially, the unprecedented momentum in China will supersede any issues with the market fall.

In regards to the Apple Watch, White believes it will be the “go to gift this holiday season.” He also sees the Watch becoming the “best selling new product in Apple’s history” over the next year.

When measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark, Brian White has an overall success rate of 67% recommending stocks, earning a +16.7% average return per recommendation.

On July 14, FBR analyst Daniel Ives reiterated a Buy rating with a $185 price target on Apple stock. Ives based his $185 price target analysis on 19x his current 2016 EPS estimate of $9.69. The analyst views the last few months as a “speed bump,” which will be overcome by Apple’s strong growth momentum heading into Fiscal year 2016.

The analyst raised his revenue and EPS estimates for the third quarter from $47.8 billion and $1.72 to $49.2 billion and $1.79 respectively. His increase primarily stems from beliefs that Apple will spur growth from “increased service business focus, ramping penetration of the Chinese mobile market, and upside from new device categories.”

Ives believes that Apple has more room for growth than Wall Street has factored into their models. The analyst noted that Apple can “penetrate further” into the market utilizing “its strong product ecosystem” and the much anticipated iPhone 6s/7 launch. For the third quarter, Ives estimates iPhone shipments of 49 million, up two million from his previous estimates.

Apple also has the ability to further expand its ecosystem within the next two years. New product area/services like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay with the “potential for new product categories (e.g., augmented reality, automobile, etc.)” will be the catalysts driving this growth.

In respect to the Apple Watch, Ives hopes to get more detail on shipment data when third quarter earnings are released. He believes that Apple Watch revenue have the potential to impact 8% of total revenue for Apple in Fiscal Year 2017.

When measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark, Daniel Ives has an overall success rate of 63% recommending stocks, earning a +9.3% average return per recommendation.

Out of 37 analysts polled by TipRanks, 24 analysts are bullish on Apple, 11 are neutral, and 2 are bearish. The average 12-month price target for Intel is $152.07, marking a 21.02% potential upside from where stock is currently trading. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Intel is Hold.

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