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There seems to be a lot of controversy among analysts about the precise meaning of the 9 million iPhones that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold last weekend. An analysis from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) suggests that the numbers are a real positive for the company, and ups the company’s target price. Other analysts have not been quite so positive.
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray thinks that the number is inflated because of the difference between iPhones shipped and those sold. He reckons that the company really sold around 5.5 million. Glen Yeung of Citigroup reckons that the sales are not as important as they appear because of the “Apple Draw” effect.
Goldman’s view on Apple
Goldman Sachs is much more positive about the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) numbers. The investment bank put a new target price of $560 on shares in Apple as a result of the sales, and estimates that Apple will sell 32.04 million phones this quarter—a big jump from the previous estimate of 27.68 million.
The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s guidance on revenues and margins, which was given after the announcement of the iPhone sales numbers, makes the Goldman analysts very bullish on the company. They now expect EPS for 2014 to hit $44.11, up from a previous prediction of $42.65, and well ahead of consensus earnings estimates of $39.22.
An answer to Apple bears
Goldman doesn’t just upgrade its Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) numbers in today’s report, it takes a look at the arguments dissenting from its own and seeks to answer them. In response to Munster, the report highlights the fact that yesterday’s numbers used the same methodology that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has always used.
That means that the numbers are comparable to those Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) used last year and every year before. There are some differences, however, most notably the inclusion of China during the release weekend and the supply constraints on the iPhone 5s. Those arguments do not function as an answer to Glen Yeung’s criticisms.
The Goldman analysts don’t seem to believe in “Apple draw.” They assume that the company’s sales numbers are a big positive surprise and that they mean the iOS 7 refresh and the iPhone 5c have been positive movers for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). They are confident enough to boost expectations, though it will be some time before a clear picture of iPhone slaes becomes apparent.