Apple fundamentals have been tossed out the window after the company’s earnings report last night. Then again, the iPhone maker’s valuation has been driven by excitement off and on over the years, so this is nothing new. The talk of the Street is still that the iPhone 8 is all that matters, so who cares about the June quarter?
Analysts from most firms have boosted their price targets for Apple stock based on the excitement over the tenth anniversary iPhone model.
Apple fundamentals driven by cross-segment growth
More than one firm has noted that the better-than-expected June quarter results were driven by non-iPhone products, especially the iPad, although Macs and Services also boosted Apple fundamentals. This may be the first time in a long time that the company’s other products have garnered this much attention.
Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz described the newfound “help from other segments” as being “an important development” for Apple. The iPhone maker recorded a 22% year over year growth rate for services, an acceleration from the previous quarter. Additionally, sales of the Mac and iPad lines were “much better than expected.” He believes enterprise partnerships could have driven the iPad growth; thus, it could be sustainable.
Apple price targets boosted
While most other analysts on the Street have been quick to say that the company’s strong guidance means the iPhone 8 will launch in September, Moskowitz noted that it’s possible for the strength of these other three segments to be the main reason for that strong guidance.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich also pointed out that all of Apple’s segments grew during the June quarter. He noted that Apple’s Macs chained market share and iPads grew by “a surprising 15%” as the company refreshed the product line. Even the Apple Watch showed strong growth as the number of units increased 50% year over year. Although he was impressed by the growth across all segments, Milunovich cited iPhone 8 excitement as the reason for raising his price target on Apple from $170 to $180.
Piper Jaffray analyst Michael J. Olson cited the new inclusion of the company’s cash in his valuation for his price target increase. He now values Apple at $190 a share versus his previous target of $158. Numerous other analysts also raised their targets, so a list of increases would go on for ages.
Price target boosts even from Neutral firms
Moskowitz noted that investors haven’t focused on Apple fundamentals for the last three quarters. Instead, the only things they cared about were whether the iPhone franchise as a whole started tumbling, which would have been demonstrated by falling average selling prices or consolidated gross margins. He added that although these two things haven’t happened yet, Apple management has been saying that the iPhone 7 Plus mix has been strong, but the average selling price hasn’t received much of a lift from this.
Barclays is generally bearish on Apple, making it an outlier on Wall Street. Moskowitz said he has “long-term concerns” about Apple fundamentals, but even he raised his price target for the company. He moved to $146 from $123. He has an Equal Weight rating on Apple stock, so he isn’t advising “opportunistic investors” to exit their stake based on the June results and September guidance, but he added that he “would be more cautious” after the iPhone 8 is unveiled.
Apple stock rose by more than 5% during regular trading hours on Wednesday, touching a new high of $159.75.