Will iPhone Sales Continue to Propel Apple into 2015?
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) had an eventful year in 2014, from record-breaking iPhone 6 sales to shares closing at a record high of $118.62 in late November. Apple fans have more to look forward to in 2015 with the release of the Apple Watch and the expansion of Apple Pay. There are already speculations brewing about potential new products not yet confirmed by the company, such as an iPad with a larger screen and Retina displays on new products.
Apple has a 52-week low of $70.51 and a 52-week high of $119.75. The tech giant has a market cap of $641.2 billion, currently the largest in the United States in front of Google and Exxon.
The first ratings of the year for the tech giant have been released, and analysts remain bullish on the popular stock.
On January 2nd, analyst Walter Piecyk of BTIG reiterated a Buy rating on Apple with a $135 price target. He noted, “Back in September, we looked at how Apple’s stock performed following the first weekend sales for prior iPhone launches,” referring to the iPhone 6’s record opening weekend in which it sold 10 million units in 3 days. However, Piecyk repeated the same caveat from September, stating that “correlating first weekend sales numbers to phones sold during the quarter or the performance of the stock is hardly reliable.” Opening weeks sales are not a reliable indicator, as seen in 2008 when Apple “stock was halved… following the iPhone 3G and rose 50% in 2009 after the 3GS launch.” Piecyk concluded, “So what happened in 2014? Nothing remarkable. The 9.3% rise into the end of the year was just below the average. So what does this imply for 2015? Absolutely nothing. They haven’t even announced the product yet!”
Walter Piecyk has a 72% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +16.4% average return per recommendation.
Separately on January 2nd, analyst Jim Kelleher of Argus Research reiterated a Buy rating on Apple and raised his price target from $120 to $125. Kelleher anticipates the iPhone 6/6+ will continue to be popular and successful into 2015 and will drive strong first quarter results. He estimates that Apple will report over 67 million iPhones shipped in the most recent quarter. The analyst believes that Apple’s EPS will grow this year and next, but he does not think the Apple Watch will be a big hit.
Jim Kelleher has an 80% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +17.0% average return per recommendation.
On average, the top analyst consensus for Apple on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.