The most anticipated report of the entire earnings season will be released after today’s closing bell. BMO Capital analyst Tim Long weighed in with his expectations on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings.
Heading into this evening’s call, Long expects a slight beat in the March quarter, with guidance for June to be about in line with consensus. For March the analyst has 52 million iPhones at an ASP of $661, and an overall gross margin of 38.7%. In June, Long’s model reflects 43 million iPhones at an ASP of $625 and a gross margin of 38.2%. “As always, there are more moving parts to gross margins, including rising component costs. The dispute with QCOM could play into gross margin guidance, depending on how AAPL accounts for it,” the analyst said.
Keep Your Eye on iPhone Average Selling Price (ASP)
Long explains that his estimates for the out quarters are generally above, mostly on ASP. The analyst noted, “We believe the Street underestimates the ASP impact of the new devices that should come in the September time frame. We believe a higher percentage of iPhone users are mixing up to the top tier, and we expect a bigger move with the new OLED version.”
Target and Recommendation
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on Apple shares, with a price target of $160, which implies about 9% upside from current levels. The analyst concludes, “We believe the stock is less about March results and June guidance, as all eyes are on the product cycle coming this year.
As usual, we like to include the analyst’s trackrecord when reporting on new analyst notes. According to TipRanks.com, analyst Tim Long has a yearly average return of 12.5% and a 64% success rate. Long has a 28.1% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #266 out of 4569 analysts.
Out of the 48 analysts polled in the past 12 months, 37 rate Apple stock a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 3 recommend to Sell.