Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is receiving positive nods from analysts at two firms today. Avondale Research and BGC Partners both upgraded the stock just a day ahead of the company’s next earnings report.
BGC Partners’ Colin Gillis appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box today to explain why he upgraded the stock. He’s been neutral on it since October 2011, and he said since we haven’t heard even the slightest bit of good news from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), any good news will give the stock a boost. He believes that now is the time to buy Apple because of the weakness which exists in its stock.
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In his view, since Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) didn’t negatively pre-announce tomorrow’s earnings, it will likely be “somewhere in the guidance range.” He admits that virtually every investor and analyst knows that Apple is expected to have a June quarter and points out that few analysts have lowered their estimates for that quarter because they already baked in weak sales ahead of product refreshes.
In June. we should see the next version of iOS at the developer convention, and Apple may increase its dividend to make its stock more attractive to investors. Also Gillis said gross margins could surprise to the upside.
In spite of his upbeat view of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Gillis said he lowered his price target for the stock from $550 to $500 per share. He did that because of what he called “serious structural problems happening in the industry.” He pointed out that average selling prices are declining and that the smartphone market is becoming mature. Both issues are negatively impacting Apple right now.
According to Gillis, BGC upgraded the stock ahead of earnings because there’s a 7 percent or 30-point move baked into the stock price right after earnings. So if he’s wrong, the stock will go down to $360 per share, and if he’s right, it will go up to $420 per share.
“I don’t want to be the guy that’s upgrading it at that $420 level because I think there’s only a little bit more juice left to my $500 level,” he told Squawk Box.
In addition, he doesn’t believe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will hit $700 per share again, primarily because he said companies which do hit a market capitalization that high tend to only stay there between two and 12 months.
Analysts at Avondale upgraded shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from market perform to outperform.
At the moment of this writing, shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were up almost 2 percent since opening bell.