Before the market opened on Tuesday, Credit Suisse upgraded shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from Neutral to Outperform. Credit Suisse cited strong iPhone sales and the possibility that Apple will continue to grow its shareholder value programs. In addition to the upgrade, Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha, rose his target price from $110 to $130. Full year 2015 earnings per share also got a hefty 18% boost by Garcha, who know is expecting $9.44 a share. Fiscal 2016 iPhone unit sales estimates were upgraded from 213 million units to 215 million units. Lastly, Garcha believes that there is a great possibility that Apple will increase its shareholder value programs to $200 billion and could extend the program for another three years.
Garcha has a 29.6% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #1257 out of 3441 analysts, according to TipRanks.com.
Evidence of AAPL’s very impressive fourth quarter 2014 is still coming out. Just recently, Apple released Mac sales for the fourth quarter, which showed up at 5.75 million units, compared to 4.8 million units in fourth quarter 2013, which gives Apple 18.9% sales growth year over year for Mac sales. Current estimates for iPhone unit sales are still preliminary, but it is widely accepted that Apple sold 69.3 million units during the fourth quarter 2014. What is very interesting about that number is the fact that China made up 35% of those iPhone sales, surpassing the US for the first time. However, it is not official yet and we will have to wait for Apple’s earnings announcement on the quarter to get a definitive conclusion. Additionally, according to PhoneArena.com, AAPL sold 500,000 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in India during the fourth quarter. The takeaway here is that Apple is establishing a bigger presence in emerging market countries, which could provide a huge boost in sales over time.
The great year for Apple continues, as the company announced that the Apple App Store saw sales rise 50% from 2013, taking in $15 billion through paid apps and in-app payments. Apple keeps $.30 on every dollar, the rest goes to the developers, giving Apple a total sales from the app sales to $4.5 billion. While Apple sees annual sales of $183 billion, the app sales is relatively small, but it is one of Apple’s fastest growing businesses.
Overall, AAPL’s release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus made a huge impact with consumers, who continue to buy up the product in record-like fashion. Analysts’ estimate that China made up 35% of the sales of the 69.3 million iPhones sold is still not 100% confirmed by Apple, who will talk more about that during their earnings release, but this is a huge turning point for Apple because they have had a struggling relationship with China in getting its products for sale there. Ultimately, the upgrade from Credit Suisse seems justified and consumers are no doubt excited to see what AAPL has planned for 2015.