Wall Street shocked by Apple's staggering quarter, prompting analysts to raise estimates

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited February 2015
Apple's stunning first quarter of fiscal 2015 blew virtually every prediction out of the water, and left Wall Street analysts rushing to increase their price targets on Wednesday as the stock jumped higher.




Apple sold a record breaking 74.5 million iPhones in the December quarter, propelling it to $18 billion in profit over the three-month span. That's the most profit ever reported by a publicly traded company --?nearly enough to buy three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers priced at $6.2 billion apiece.

Given Apple's astonishing success for the holiday frame, Wall Street analysts reacted by raising their estimates and price targets for the iPhone maker. A summary of their reactions follows.

Morgan Stanley

Apple's "quarter for the record books" prompted analyst Katy Huberty to increase her price target to $133, up from $126. She also revised her calendar 2015 estimates to predict sales of 218 million iPhones at an average selling price of $651.




As for Morgan Stanley's "bull case" scenario, the investment firm could see shares of AAPL going as high as $150 if the company's larger-screened iPhones were to drive more mobile share gains, and the upcoming Apple Watch were to exceed expectations.
Morgan Stanley, Evercore, UBS, RBC, BMO, Wells Fargo & Cowen all increased their AAPL price targets this week.

Driving home how big Apple's quarter was, Huberty noted that this week's revision is the largest post-earnings reassessment since 2011.

"Apple topped the most bullish expectations but more importantly, demand/ASP/margin trends appear sustainable and drive the largest estimate increase in several years," Huberty wrote.

Evercore ISI

Analyst Rob Cihra also raised his price target on Apple following Tuesday's earnings print, seeing shares of the company reach $140 within the next year. His previous target was $135.

Cihra took note of the $687 average selling price of the iPhone -- an amount that is now more than 2.5 times greater than the overall smartphone market's average.




The analyst predicts that Apple will reaccelerate growth this year, predicting that revenue will increase 24 percent year over year in fiscal 2015. In comparison, Apple grew revenue 7 percent year over year in fiscal 2014.

UBS

"Seems like the whole world wants an iPhone," analyst Steven Milunovich wrote reacting to Apple's December quarter. He was especially impressed that Apple managed to sell 74.5 million iPhones in spite of the fact that the company couldn't meet supply-demand balance until January, after the quarter ended.




Given the average selling price of the iPhone and gross margin of 39.9 percent, Milunovich estimates that the jumbo-sized iPhone 6 Plus accounted for about 30 percent of total iPhone units sold in the quarter.

UBS also increased its price target to $130, up from its previous prediction of $125.

RBC Capital Markets

Analyst Amit Daryanani has also increased his price target to $130, up from $123. Apple's quarter was so big that Daryanani said he had to increase his cell widths and chart heights to fit all of the numbers.

Even with the astounding quarter, he sees a number of factors that could take Apple's stock even higher, including potential upside in the March quarter, the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, and an update on the company's capital reinvestment program in April.

Regarding Apple's share buyback program, Daryanani believes Apple could commit to repurchase more than $200 billion shares over a three-year period. He called Apple's capital allocation policy a "meaningful positive" for investors.


The New York Stock Exchange, credit Carlos Delgado via Wikipedia.

BMO Capital Markets

Joining others at the $130 price target is analyst Keith Bachman, who previously had a projection of $123. To him, the most interesting comment on the call was the fact that only a fraction of Apple's existing installed base has updated to the latest iPhone models.

Though the total installed base of current iPhone users is unknown, Bachman said the comments by Apple suggest there is plenty of room to grow for the iPhone 6 upgrade cycle.

"Such a large installed base, with low upgrades to date, suggest the potential for strong iPhone sales in the next several quarters," he said.


Piper Jaffray

One analyst who didn't need to revise his price target this week was the bullish Gene Munster, a longtime Apple proponent. He's maintained a target of $135 with an "overweight" rating for shares of AAPL.

Following Apple's earnings, Munster reiterated his belief that investors should worry less about Apple's product cycles, and focus more on the fact that the company has cultivated a loyal and devoted customer base that will continue buying its products.

"Apple is building and creating an annuity (90% plus iPhone re-buy rates) with customers that upgrade multiple devices over many years," Munster said.


Two firms' updated targets already underwater

Two more investment firms did update their price targets following Apple's print, but as of Wednesday morning trading, they're already underwater.

Noted Apple bear Maynard Um of Wells Fargo Securities upped his "valuation range" to between $105 and $115, below Apple's trading price north of $116 as of Wednesday. He has also maintained his "market perform" rating, expressing concern over tougher comparisons ahead and a reliance on upgrading its existing installed base.

Cowen and Company also set a new price target of $115 on Wednesday, a slight increase from its previous projection of $113.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 83
    Gene isn't going to raise his target until he has a 42" Apple TV set in his living room. Guy's obsessed with that TV.
  • Reply 2 of 83

    Not surprising, Wall Street just doesn't "get it".

  • Reply 3 of 83
    These analysts... ????
  • Reply 4 of 83
    Apple hating suits, who assisted banks in almost destroying the world economy, pull their heads out of their...
  • Reply 5 of 83
    technotechno Posts: 737member

    hmmm, really?

     

    The week leading up all we hear from the "analysts" are reports that downplay the success and help push AAPL lower. Now the quarterly results are in and they are "shocked."

     

    Really?

     

    I wasn't shocked. Were any of you? Can you say stock manipulation?

  • Reply 6 of 83
    technotechno Posts: 737member



    Trust me, they get it. They are just playing with the system for their gain.

  • Reply 7 of 83
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,230member
    Hopefully we broke through the latest resistance line for good.
  • Reply 8 of 83
    techno wrote: »
    hmmm, really?

    The week leading up all we hear from the "analysts" are reports that downplay the success and help push AAPL lower. Now the quarterly results are in and they are "shocked."

    Really?

    I wasn't shocked. Were any of you? Can you say stock manipulation?

    Raising expectations is necessary if the plan is to short AAPL all the way to the bank.
  • Reply 9 of 83
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,597member
    It's amazing that Maynard Um of Wells Fargo still has a job.
  • Reply 10 of 83
    AnyOne left who still wonders why Jobs choose Cook to run the company? Kudos to you, Mr. Cook: you bow to noone...
  • Reply 11 of 83
    As for current owners not upgrading to iPhone 6, it's likely they will wait for the iPhone 7.
  • Reply 12 of 83
    It's not just the analists who are diligently searching the silver lining for a cloud: www.computerworld.com/article/2876795/amid-blow-out-quarter-apple-barely-mentions-mac-sales.html
  • Reply 13 of 83
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post



    It's amazing that Maynard Um of Wells Fargo still has a job.



    Maynard...Um .. is  um.. an idiot.

  • Reply 14 of 83
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by droslovinia View Post



    It's not just the analists who are diligently searching the silver lining for a cloud: www.computerworld.com/article/2876795/amid-blow-out-quarter-apple-barely-mentions-mac-sales.html



    Usual idiocy. IDC's numbers are spitballing, nothing more.

  • Reply 15 of 83
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    techno wrote: »

    Trust me, they get it. They are just playing with the system for their gain.

    I wish you were right, that they do get it, but I don't think so. These left-brained numbers guys, PC and Microsoft damaged, still think Apple buyers are brand-obsessed sheep. Numbers guys don't feel the care put into the products. They are numb to it.

    Intro line on "Marketplace" today said something like, "the faithful came to worship at the chapel of Apple" last quarter, or some such tripe.

    Still, your point that they are playing the system for their gain is just that much more likely. They have no problem subverting what has become a genuine American success story, one relatively free of imperialism for a change. That's a shame. Wall Street opposes real progress.

    On the other hand, it would be good if Apple could start doing something convincing and visible with its cash, in order to block the common gripe that they make too much money.
  • Reply 16 of 83
    tenlytenly Posts: 710member
    As for current owners not upgrading to iPhone 6, it's likely they will wait for the iPhone 7.

    No it's not. You couldn't be more wrong. What do you base your speculation on?

    A great many owners are on the 'S' cycle and waiting for their 2 year contract to be up so they can get the subsidized upgrade. That means that they are likely to upgrade to the '6S' - not the '7'.
  • Reply 17 of 83
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by techno View Post

     



    Trust me, they get it. They are just playing with the system for their gain.




    I don't know, perhaps you're correct, but I think it's more likely they really are that ignorant.

  • Reply 18 of 83
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    chadmatic wrote: »
    Not surprising, Wall Street just doesn't "get it".

    One of the Bloomberg TV people would routinely go "Apple's a whole entity to it's own."

    Like, every other stock has a predictable pattern. Good news=price goes up, bad news=price goes down. Apple on the other hand has no correlation between news and stock activity. That one time that Apple missed guidelines, by a tiny amount everyone screamed murder and bear'd down on the stock from a high of 600 to 470.
  • Reply 19 of 83
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    As for current owners not upgrading to iPhone 6, it's likely they will wait for the iPhone 7.

    Yeah, I think you meant the 6S. That would be me, eligible for upgrade this September.
  • Reply 20 of 83
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,294member
    As for current owners not upgrading to iPhone 6, it's likely they will wait for the iPhone 7.

    That should be 6S and 6S+ going by the past of Apple naming.
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