Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock hit a record high last week amid drivers such as a big thumbs-up from Warren Buffett, but the shares were unaffected by a weekend price target boost from one firm. Meanwhile, another firm said that the growing iPhone installed base might help the company double its services revenue as management promised.
Will Apple Inc. (AAPL) be able to double its services revenue?
In a research note dated March 5, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long said he estimates that there are more than 700 million iPhones in use today, including 200 million phones that were bought second-hand. He expects growth in the installed base to remain strong in the coming years as well and notes that more iPhones means more services revenue, although he’s not yet ready to incorporate into his model management’s promise to double the segment’s revenue in the next four years.
Long expects Apple Inc. (AAPL) to add nearly 100 million second-hand iPhones to its installed base this year, boosting the second-hand number from about 228 million to 300 million. He estimates that nearly one-third of the iPhones added to the installed base as of September will be at least two years old. As analysts from multiple other firms have noted, the aging installed base should be a tailwind for upgrades when the iPhone 8 launches later this year.
The BMO analyst feels that the plan of doubling its services revenue is “ambitious but achievable,” but he’s only projecting a 15% increase over the next four years, while Apple Inc. (AAPL) management said they will double it in the same timeframe.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock target raised by Citi
Analysts at Citi boosted their price target for Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock over the weekend, again promoting the same “super cycle” thesis most analysts are pressing. Jim Suva boosted his target for Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock by $20 to bring it to $160 per share. He also maintained his Buy rating based on value expansion from the iPhone 8 and possibilities in India.
Suva predicts a massive iPhone 8 upgrade cycle this year, even though Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock remains close to the all-time high it hit last week, he still thinks there’s room to profit off the shares. He believes that the iPhone 8 and India potential will combine to expand the multiple on Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock. After all, the iPhone holds only a 2% share in India, and there have been plenty of signs that Apple Inc. (AAPL) has its sights set on that market. For example, we heard this week about a quiet re-launch of the iPhone 6 in India and some other Asian markets.
Cramer not a fan of the term “super cycle”
One notable exception is CNBC’s Jim Cramer. He dislikes that phrase because he feels it could set the stock up a massive disappointment if the iPhone 8 cycle doesn’t turn out to be as great as expected.
According to The Street, Cramer warns that if investors are too excited about the iPhone 8 (they probably already are), Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock will skyrocket before its release and then tumble afterward. He explained that by repeatedly using the term “super cycle,” analysts are building up investor expectations and raising the chances of a huge selloff in the stock.
Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock closed down 0.31% at $139.34 on Monday.