Citi lays out five reasons why Apple stock, growth potential is undervalued

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited April 2015
Citi analyst Jim Suva believes investors and the Street are seriously underestimating Apple's growth potential, especially related to iPhone 6 performance, saying he expects AAPL to beat consensus for March quarter sales by at least $1 billion.




Suva told investors in a note sent out Wednesday that his checks show rolling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales outpacing analyst consensus for the upcoming fiscal quarter. With iPhone being a huge contributor to Apple's overall revenue base, a Street misunderstanding of market trade winds could result in major beat.

Based on these factors, along with a few others, Suva put Apple shares on Citi's US Focus List, a designation granted only to the "highest conviction stock ideas." Explaining the decision, he outlines five key reasons why Apple should be trading higher: device acceleration; attractive valuation and currently low consensus estimates; increasing gross margins; Apple Pay and Passbook potential; and enterprise opportunities.
  • Device Acceleration
    Suva thinks device acceleration is a major underlying driver for Apple as cellular carriers are seemingly trending toward early iPhone upgrades in hopes of mitigating customer churn. For example, telcos run promotions that provide wireless subscribers opportunities to swap out their old devices for new units earlier on in a two-year contract.
  • Valuation and consensus
    Investors sometimes question if AAPL is too overpriced, but Suva argues the stock is currently trading at 14 times forward earnings or 11 times excluding cash of $25 per share. This is in comparison to the S&P 500, which trades at 17 times forward earnings. Importantly, industry consensus on Apple earnings potential is conservatively low, suggesting upward adjustments could be in the offing.
  • Gross margins trending up
    With a bevy of content-rich apps and generational camera hardware upgrades that eat up more onboard storage, Apple is primed to see a shift in consumer preference to devices with higher memory capacities. Apple prices iPhone storage tiers (16GB, 64GB and 128GB) in $100 increments, but only pays about $20 for the extra modules, suggesting an 80 percent incremental gross margin. Further, Apple guidance for its second fiscal quarter of 2015 stands at 38.5 to 39.5 percent, compared to 37.5 to 38.5 percent in the trailing quarter.
  • Apple Pay and Passbook
    Apple Pay is currently limited to the U.S. market, but as it rolls out internationally, Suva expects Apple to make great strides in mobile payments. He notes Apple Pay is only part of Passbook, which itself could be a potential driver of future growth.
  • Enterprise
    After capturing the consumer market with high quality products, Apple has a chance to parlay that success into enterprise. Citing Apple's recent partnership with IBM, Suva sees Apple investing in business-minded products and services, possibly leading to a holistic enterprise mobile solution.
Suva offers one more "bonus" reason, noting Apple Watch is about to launch in late April. He predicts the first-generation device to sell about 7 million units over 2015, but estimates that number to increase to 20 million next year.

Citi reiterates a buy rating at a target price of $145 and is modeling second quarter revenue at $56.6 billion, a 24-percent increase year-over-year.

Apple is scheduled to report fiscal quarter two earnings on April 27.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    r00fusr00fus Posts: 245member
    #suddenoutbreakofcommonsense

    Seriously people, maybe the quant wizkids at Wall St. have figured out that Apple isn't going away (i.e., constantly beleaguered).

    Or ... (color me conspiracy-minded) hedge funds are buying AAPL and will throw them under the bus again when they need to sell it.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    r00fus wrote: »
    #suddenoutbreakofcommonsense

    Seriously people, maybe the quant wizkids at Wall St. have figured out that Apple isn't going away (i.e., constantly beleaguered).

    Or ... (color me conspiracy-minded) hedge funds are buying AAPL and will throw them under the bus again when they need to sell it.

    Indeed.

    An analyst is making sense. Something must be amiss.

    That said, I think Apple is fairly valued at the moment.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member

    Yes please sell your shares, so I can buy more, seriously these analysts need to shut the f... up and keep bashing Apple so I can make even more money really shhhhhhhhh stop telling the truth about Apple beating estimates dammit!

  • Reply 4 of 14
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post





    You should sell your shares then

    Just ignore the troll please. don't feed the trolls

  • Reply 5 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,211moderator
    sog35 wrote: »
    You should sell your shares then

    Why should he sell his shares? If he's sitting on huge profits, as I am, he could instead trade options against his shares to earn significant extra income from them. In my case, I made about $150k in option income over the last 12 months against 7000 shares that have a cost basis of $73.41. I clearly don't want to pay the taxman a huge amount by selling my shares when I can instead mine them for large smounts in the options market. Doing what I do naked (without holding underlying shares) would be dangerous, so you want to retain a position in the stock.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,788member
    Why should he sell his shares? If he's sitting on huge profits, as I am, he could instead trade options against his shares to earn significant extra income from them. In my case, I made about $150k in option income over the last 12 months against 7000 shares that have a cost basis of $73.41. I clearly don't want to pay the taxman a huge amount by selling my shares when I can instead mine them for large smounts in the options market. Doing what I do naked (without holding underlying shares) would be dangerous, so you want to retain a position in the stock.

    You should give a little "masters class" here on how you plan and trade options (if you are so inclined).
  • Reply 7 of 14
    jasonfjjasonfj Posts: 530member
    You should give a little "masters class" here on how you plan and trade options (if you are so inclined).

    Yes, please do explain...
  • Reply 8 of 14
    sog35 wrote: »
    Indeed.

    An analyst is making sense. Something must be amiss.

    That said, I think Apple is fairly valued at the moment.

    You should sell your shares then

    I like the dividend. Beats 0% interest rate, especially as I pay no tax on it.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    sog35 wrote: »
    I like the dividend. Beats 0% interest rate, especially as I pay no tax on it.

    But if you truly believe the stock is at fair value a slight dip in the broad economy will decrease the value of shares much more than 3 years of dividends.

    I didn't buy them yesterday.
  • Reply 10 of 14

    I like higher price targets as much as the next AAPL investor but this guy predicted the Apple Watch Edition was going to cost $950.

     

    He was only off by a factor of 10.  

     

    Quoting the great observer Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by *that* much."

  • Reply 11 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,788member

    Looks like Ben Frost is banned.

     

  • Reply 12 of 14
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drunkenmaster View Post

     

    I like higher price targets as much as the next AAPL investor but this guy predicted the Apple Watch Edition was going to cost $950.

     

    He was only off by a factor of 10.  

     

    Quoting the great observer Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by *that* much."


    He probably anticipated it being gold plated.

  • Reply 13 of 14

    I don't get it.  If Apple's P/E is definitely lower than similar tech companies in the S&P 500, why would Apple be considered overvalued?  Are there consumer tech companies making more money and profits than Apple?  Are those companies also offering higher dividends and spending more on buybacks to make them better valued than Apple?  If not, then it makes no sense why Apple should be picked out as being overvalued.  Is there something Apple is doing wrong that people would consider Apple overvalued?  I know most of Apple's reserve cash is trapped overseas, so is that maybe the reason?  Is that $178 billion considered as not having any value because Apple can't use it in the U.S.?  Isn't there any explanation why Apple can't gain parity with those similar companies in the S&P 500 and get a slightly higher P/E (a couple of points more)?

     

    It's funny how Netlflix's P/E went up almost 40 points in a day.  That's simply incredible.  The company only takes monthly subscriptions, so it's not like subscribers are locked in.  In theory, couldn't Apple get a bunch of content, charge a competitive price and go head to head with Netflix using a fraction of its iTunes accounts.  Truthfully, for my limited movie and TV viewing needs, Popcorn Time on my Mac is just as good as Netflix and doesn't cost me a thing.  Someone said Netflix is headed to $900 a share.  For what?  Being an online video store?  And yet they say Apple is overvalued but Netflix isn't?  C'mon.  Something is fishy on Wall Street.

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