Stock Giants in the Limelight: Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA)

Technology enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to this week as smartphone giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hosts its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and electric car giant Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) releases details on two new lower-price vehicles. Analysts weigh in on the potential impact both of these events will have on the companies.

Apple Inc.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off today. Technology fans around the world will be tuning in to see what updates and innovations Apple has in store. Rod Hall of J.P. Morgan shares his thoughts and expectations from an investor’s point of view, focusing on several potential highlights including the MacBook Skylake refresh and Siri APIs.

MacBook Skylake refers to the company’s MacBook Pro line, with Skylake being the latest-generation processor. Hall points to a “MacBook Skylake refresh” as the conference’s “main tangible announcement.” The analyst also comments on Siri APIs, noting, “The most significant enhancement to Apple’s platform that we expect at the event on Monday is the rollout of Siri APIs to allow developers to make use of voice recognition features currently restricted to Apple.” He compares this potential rollout to Amazon’s Alexa (Echo) platform that allows consumers to use voice recognition at home.

Hall also hopes for updates on the potential to expand iMessage onto Androids, though the analyst is “not overly excited about the idea of allowing Android users to participate in the Apple Geekosystem without buying an Apple product.” He continues to note other minor points of interest such as subscription tweaks for the App Store and an Apple Pencil pocket clip.

Given all the exciting developments in store for Apple this week, Rod Hall reiterates an Overweight rating on the stock.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Rod Hall has a yearly average return of 1% and a 41% success rate. Hall has a -1.4% average return when recommending AAPL, and is ranked #1744 out of 3979 analysts.

As of this writing, 84% of analysts covering the stock are bullish, 13% are neutral, and 3% are bearish. The average 12-month price target is $125.16, marking a 26% potential upside from where shares last closed.

Tesla Motors Inc

Tesla announced two new lower-priced Model S vehicles late last week, leading Brad Erickson of Pacific Crest to dive into the new offerings and his expectations of consumer demand.

The new offerings come with a 60 kWh capacity with the ability to upgrade to 75 kWh through a software update, at the cost of about $9,000. Erickson is not impressed with this scheme, noting, “effectively, Tesla is selling largely the same car, but through software, is broadening its addressable market with only a modest hit to gross margin in the event the buyer does not opt for the higher range.” According to the analyst, “lower-range cars have not been a huge driver for Tesla.”

Erickson’s most recent demand checks for the company indicate the Model S demand is “showing signs of plateauing.” While the lower-price Model S reveal could “restoke the demand debate a bit,” the analyst is looking for Model X to drive demand. He explains, “We are now more confident that Model X production is ramping in line with expectations, we found the company’s tone more confident regarding potential further Model X production missteps, and our checks detected significant improvements in Model X demand versus our work the previous month.”

Brad Erickson reiterates a Sector Weight rating on Tesla with a $212 price target as he is waiting for clarity on long-term Model 3 production concerns. He also remains concerned by the company’s cash burn potential and management’s “overly ambitious” production goals.

According to TipRanks, 54% of analysts are bullish on Tesla, 18% are neutral, and 27% are bearish. The average price target for the stock is $276.09, marking a 26% potential upside from where shares last closed.


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