Wowed Wall Street watchers raise forecasts after Apple's 'perfect' $46B quarter

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014
Analysts on Wall Street were blown away by Apple's blistering holiday 2011 quarter, and promptly revised their estimates even higher following the news.



Apple's first quarter of its fiscal 2012 was so good, analyst Brian Marshall called it "the perfect quarter." Other analysts weighed in with descriptions including "supersized," "exceptional" and "iDominance."



Analysts also took the opportunity to increase their price targets for AAPL stock, with the most bullish of forecasts now calling for it to hit $670.



Piper Jaffray



Analyst Gene Munster has the highest price target amongst his peers, with the $670 forecast. AAPL is his top pick for 2012, as Apple's success is "a market expansion story as well as an upgrade cycle story."



While Munster was impressed by Apple's holiday quarter, he sees it as a precursor to 2012, which he previously said will be a "monster" year. He expects the "true force" of Apple's December quarter will be felt throughout calendar year 2012.



Munster also said that though investors getting numb to Apple's impressive results, he expects earnings revisions will move higher faster than the iPhone maker's declining earnings multiple.









"For the last eight years, Apple has been blowing away analyst estimates," he wrote. "Last night's $7B revenue upside was particularly impressive given it equaled Apple's total revenue for the Jun-08 quarter. While we are raising our earnings numbers for (calendar year 2012) by 24%, shares of AAPL were only up 8% in the aftermarket."



ISI Group



"The perfect quarter," in Marshall's eyes, was due to the fact that the iPhone and iPad generated about 85 percent of Apple's total gross profits. This helped the company beat its revenue guidance by about $9.3 billion and earnings per share guidance by $4.60.



"With minimal 'real' competitive threats to AAPL's major product families in (calendar year 2012), we believe the outlook for the next 4 quarters can be characterized as 'smooth sailing,'" Marshall wrote. "In our view, if something were to go wrong with the story, it would most likely result from idiosyncratic mis-execution on the part of AAPL or a material change in support from the global carrier community."



But Marshall said that's unlikely given Apple's historical track record. He expects an iPad 3 launch in March and a sixth-generation iPhone to arrive in the September-October timeframe to go smoothly.



Marshall also said that Apple possesses a revenue stream similar to a cable company, as though users are iOS "subscribers," but he still doubts that the market will apply a "full valuation" to the company and give it a decent price-to-earnings multiple.



Because of that, he's applied a 12-times multiple to his new calendar year earnings per share estimate of $41.50, up about 9 percent from his previous projection of $39. Adding in 25 percent credit of net cash, he arrived at a new price target of $525, up from $500.





The growth trajectory of Apple's cash hoard, via Asymco.





UBS



"Let me get a Q1... supersized," analyst Maynard Um joked. With Apple firing on all cylinders to end 2011, he said it's set up the company nicely for another strong performance in 2012.



"The magnitude of the upside is quite impressive," he said. He sees iPhone demand carrying into the March quarter, while an impending third-generation iPad launch will continue to drive growth.



And those trends will carry Apple into the fall of 2012, when the company is expected to introduce its next iPhone. UBS has maintained its buy rating for AAPL stock, and has a price target of $550.



Needham Research



Analyst Charlie Wolf was at a loss when trying to describe Apple's holiday quarter: "There is no other way to describe it. Apple crushed its first quarter."



He was most impressed by Apple's 110 percent increase in iPhone sales to 37 million, which easily bested his forecast of 32 million units. He also said that sales of 15.4 million iPads "put to rest the notion that underpriced and underpowered compelling tablets would have any affect on iPad sales."



Wolf also noted that with 5.2 million Macs sold last quarter, quarterly Mac sales now exceed annual Mac shipments through 2005.



He also took note of Apple's growing cash hoard, which is now worth nearly $100 billion. Wolf is hopeful that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook will offer investors some sort of dividend out of its cash and reserves.



Needham Research has set a 12-month price target for AAPL stock of $540. Wolf said the major risk in the company's story is whether it can continue to innovate at the same rapid pace for years to come without late co-founder Steve Jobs at the helm.



Morgan Stanley



Beyond product upgrades like the next iPad and a future iPhone, analyst Katy Huberty sees Apple's distribution in China as a major part of its growth going forward. She believes Apple will ink a deal with China Telecom for the iPhone in the near future, while China Mobile will also come on board in late 2012 and early 2013.



"Adding the additional carriers in China helps open up access to the 150M high-end subscribers, 80% of which are on China Mobile's network," she said.



Morgan Stanley has maintained its "overweight" rating for AAPL stock with a price target of $515, though the firm's "bull case" scenario calls for the company's stock to hit $600.









RBC Capital Markets



"iDominance!" declared analyst Mike Abramsky, who raised his price target to $600 from $525 after Apple easily bested his projected iPhone sales of 32 million.



He also noted that Apple now has $104 per share in cash, after having its operating cash flow increase by $17.5 billion in the holiday quarter.



Abramsky sees Apple selling 81.4 million iPhones, 33.4 million iPads and 25.8 million Macs in the company's fiscal 2012. With a projected $160.7 billion in revenue, he sees the company growing 48.5 percent this year.









Deutsche Bank



Analyst Chris Whitmore has increased his price target for AAPL to $600 from $530. He said Apple's new product portfolio remains "incredibly strong" with new iPhone and iPad models expected this year.



"In addition, we expect Macs with Ivy Bridge should support incremental gains and Apple TV appears set to graduate from an 'Apple hobby' later this year," he wrote. "We anticipate an iOS device with Siri user interface and iCloud syncing has the potential to redefine the smart TV category in the same way the iPhone and iPad impacted the smartphone and tablet markets, respectively."



As for the third-generation iPad, Whitmore said he believes it will arrive early this year while the rest of the industry is refocusing its efforts on Windows 8-based tablets. That will give Apple even longer to extend its lead over the competition.



Sterne Agee



With a new price target of $550 (from $540), analyst Shaw Wu believes Apple remains in a position to outperform in a tough macro-econonmic environment. He has forecast $156.4 billion in revenue from Apple in its fiscal year 2012 with $43 in earnings per share.



Looking beyond to fiscal 2013, he sees Apple with $175.7 billion in revenue and $48 earnings per share.



Evercore



"That's a lotta iPhones," analyst Robert Cihra said to kick off his note to investors. He said Apple's guidance for the March quarter looks conservative, as usual.



"But we see demand plus supply-chain momentum continuing to look strong across iPhone cycling (e.g., incremental geo/carrier launches), upcoming refresh of iPad (March) and MacBook Air," he wrote.



Cihra reiterated his "overweight" rating for Apple stock, and increase his price target to $650, from $600. He sees Apple netting revenues of $161 billion in fiscal 2012, up 49 percent year over year.



JMP Securities



Despite Apple's blowout quarter, analyst Alex Gauna has maintained a "market perform" rating for Apple. Gauna admitted it's "embarrassing" for him to have that rating for such a "powerful result," but said he's electing to remain on the sidelines for now, "given the risk of this proving to be a peak margins and growth quarter."



Gauna also cited "elevated litigation uncertainty" and "management transitions" as factors that could hurt Apple going forward. JMP Securities does not have a target price set for AAPL.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Who, other than gullible investors, really cares what these people have to say?



    It's the bloggers who really follow Apple, not Wall Street analysts. And the bloggers consistently outperform the professionals when it comes to predictions.



    Wall Street needs to be shrunk to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    RBC Capital Markets

    Abramsky sees Apple selling 81.4 million iPhones, 33.4 million iPads and 25.8 million Macs in the company's fiscal 2012. With a projected $160.7 million in revenue, he sees the company growing 48.5 percent this year.




    Hmmmm... Apple should have no problem hitting that target...



    (btw - 81.4 million iPhones seems quite light as does 33.4 million iPads... 25.8 million Macs on the hand seems quite generous)
  • Reply 3 of 48
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Where is Slappy?
  • Reply 4 of 48
    Alex, Alex, Alex.....
  • Reply 5 of 48
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Guess which company has pushed past Exxon to become the company with the highest market value? It might not be until next holiday quarter that Apple will surpass Exxon's world's highest quarterly profits but it will happen within a year. While these benchmarks are ultimately pointless they are points of reference and should give the average person an idea of just how big and important Apple is to the free market.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    RBC Capital Markets

    Abramsky sees Apple selling 81.4 million iPhones, 33.4 million iPads and 25.8 million Macs in the company's fiscal 2012. With a projected $160.7 million in revenue, he sees the company growing 48.5 percent this year.




    Hmmmm... Apple should have no problem hitting that target...



    (btw - 81.4 million iPhones seems quite light as does 33.4 million iPads... 25.8 million Macs on the hand seems quite generous)



    Take the highest ANALyst estimate.



    Add 25% percent.



    Prepare to learn that you have grossly underestimated Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Alex, Alex, Alex.....



    He's been saying that for 3 years now... one day he'll probably be right... one day...
  • Reply 8 of 48
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    He's been saying that for 3 years now... one day he'll probably be right... one day...



    But will his clients have made more money, even then?
  • Reply 9 of 48
    But as we all know Wall Street can't get enough. They always want

    more. Apple can have a 100 billion quarter and that still wouldn't satisfy them greed a$$ people. Wall Street would break Apple into pieces to pry a dime out its system.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    But will his clients have made more money, even then?



    You're assuming he'll still have clients...
  • Reply 11 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Alex, Alex, Alex.....



    Probably only a 10 - 20 year trend... we'll just sit this one out.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    I love how they think this was a peak quarter given that the iPhone 4S hadn't sales in China are not reflected in these numbers. Analysts are idiots.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    red oakred oak Posts: 612member
    And as we speculated, Apple's PE has compressed to sub-13. After a complete blowout of doubling earning and increasing revenues by 73%. Astounding. The stock increase today is less than half of what one would expect



    For the faithful, it is a buying opportunity. I'm more convinced than ever this is going to hit $600 at some point, with a real chance of getting to $700-$800. You have to ask yourself where APPL will be in 5 to 8 years



    I'm not sure why Apple does not do a massive stock buyback given it is undervalued. Something in the order of $50 billion dollars. Investors are not valuing the company properly and Apple should take advantage of it
  • Reply 14 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmarcoot View Post


    I love how they think this was a peak quarter given that the iPhone 4S hadn't sales in China are not reflected in these numbers. Analysts are idiots.



    ... or a peak quarter until the next holiday quarter.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    I'm not sure why Apple does not do a massive stock buyback given it is undervalued. Something in the order of $50 billion dollars. Investors are not valuing the company properly and Apple should take advantage of it





    Agreed. What better use do they have for $100B?
  • Reply 16 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post


    Agreed. What better use do they have for $100B?





    They should buy an island nation and move everything there to escape excessive government regulation and taxes.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    They should buy an island nation and move everything there to escape excessive government regulation and taxes.



    Nooo.. they should look at those share holders who have held stock through the bad times and had faith ... and send them a big fat thank you check with 7 figures
  • Reply 18 of 48
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    And as we speculated, Apple's PE has compressed to sub-13. After a complete blowout of doubling earning and increasing revenues by 73%. Astounding. The stock increase today is less than half of what one would expect



    Actually, even that's misleading. Apple's market cap is $400 B. They have about $100 B in cash, so the share price values the company at $300 B - or something like 8-9 times earnings. WAY lower than any rational analysis could make it - especially when you see companies like Amazon continuing to trade at nearly 100 times earnings.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    For the faithful, it is a buying opportunity. I'm more convinced than ever this is going to hit $600 at some point, with a real chance of getting to $700-$800. You have to ask yourself where APPL will be in 5 to 8 years



    I'm not sure why Apple does not do a massive stock buyback given it is undervalued. Something in the order of $50 billion dollars. Investors are not valuing the company properly and Apple should take advantage of it



    That certainly makes a lot more sense than a dividend-for tax reasons if nothing else.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    jakebjakeb Posts: 555member
    Honestly, I feel like a split would do more for the share price than a buyback. As stupid as that is, people would rather buy 3 shares at $150 than 1 share at $450. They see $450 and ignore the P/E. It looks expensive when it actually crazy cheap.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    I'm not sure why Apple does not do a massive stock buyback given it is undervalued. Something in the order of $50 billion dollars. Investors are not valuing the company properly and Apple should take advantage of it



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    That certainly makes a lot more sense than a dividend-for tax reasons if nothing else.



    I too think (and have been saying for a while now) that this is the option for Apple that makes the most sense.



    But it raises the hackles of a couple of our longtime posters, and the conversation invariably descends into a long argument over the merits of a buyback versus a dividend (I happen to think that it would be a bad idea for Apple to start paying dividends.)



    The beauty of a buyback is that people who won't want to sell their Apple stock do not have to, they can just hold on to it. (Dividends affect everyone, regardless of whether they want it or not). (i) The signaling effects of a repurchase would be massively positive, I would guess. (ii) It can work out better tax-wise (as pointed out above), for those who choose to sell their shares back to Apple. (iii) Apple gets to keep it as treasury stock for future employee options exercises and does not have to dilute current owners' shares with new issues.
Sign In or Register to comment.