What does it take to turn the handful of Apple bears in this world into bulls? Apparently it takes a crash like the one that happened on Monday thanks to China’s crash. Shares of Apple dipped as low as $92 per share on Monday but rallied today, climbing as much as 5.61% to $108.90 per share.
At least one firm upgraded Apple following Monday’s tumble in the company’s share price. Others issued reports supporting Apple and essentially saying investors were being irrational by selling off the stock.
Wells Fargo upgrades Apple
In a report dated today, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um and his team said they upgraded Apple from Market Perform to Outperform, setting their valuation range for the stock at $125 to $135 per share. They said the correction in Apple’s share price was “overdone,” suggesting a slightly different view from most other analysts in that they saw the need for a correction before Monday’s tumble.
In particular, they note that Apple CEO Tim Cook’s email to CNBC’s Jim Cramer provided comfort for investors on the company’s sales in China. Cook said they had seen iPhone sales in China accelerate over the last “few weeks,” which provides a glimpse into what to expect for Apple’s September quarter results. They note also that other companies have not provided this sort of glimpse into their September quarters.
The Wells Fargo team said they see July and August as being especially important for iPhone sales because September is usually the transition month between iPhone models. Further, they see potential upside for Apple’s December quarter guidance of between $49 billion and 51 billion in sales despite concerns about a tough comparison to last year.
Um and his team note that Apple shares had declined about 22% (as of yesterday’s slump, although they’ve recovered some today) since the middle of last month and 8.5% in just a few days. This is one of the main reasons they have become more positive on Apple. They also believe overall sentiment already acknowledges tough comparisons for the December quarter and the possibility of an iPhone unit decline year over year.
BAML remains Neutral on Apple
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan and his team kept their Neutral rating and $130 per share price objective on Apple. They described the bear case as representing a downside of about 75 cents per share to fiscal 2016 earnings. They also noted a tough comparison for the December quarter because of strong iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales last year.
They see most of the downside in Apple shares in the bear case as being driven by iPhone units, although they think the iPad and Apple Watch could have smaller impacts. Their bear case suggests about 200 million iPhones sold in fiscal 2016. They see a 32-cent per-share benefit from Apple’s share repurchases, assuming the company spreads out its $50 billion buyback program over the next four quarters instead of buying back shares now at low prices.