Apple Inc. (AAPL): Potential Upside To Q3, But Q4 At Risk: Jefferies

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases its next quarterly report on Monday, and Jefferies analysts have adjusted their estimates ahead of that report. They see upside potential for Monday’s report but suggest that quarter four’s results might be a problem. The Jefferies team, headed up by Peter Misek, reiterated its Buy rating and $600 per share price target on Apple.

Apple Inc. (AAPL): Potential Upside To Q3, But Q4 At Risk: Jefferies

Adjusting Apple’s estimates

As others have noted, there were no real surprises in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s announcement this week. The new iPads and MacBooks were about as expected, although the pricing strategy changed a bit. One thing management did say at the event was that they sold their 170 millionth iPad this month, which suggested that iPad shipments slowed down during the September quarter more than they expected ahead of the refresh this month.

The Jefferies team trimmed their fourth calendar quarter iPad shipment estimates from 27 million to 25 million but raised their average selling price. They increased their iPhone shipments by 2 million, saying their checks suggest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s inventory rebalancing was less than they expected with better sell-in of the iPhone 5C. However, they still believe sell-through for the 5C is below expectations. As a result, they see a risk to Wall Street estimates for the December quarter. They will report close to the end of the quarter after running further checks then.

Margin upside expected along with iPhone 6 opportunity

He reiterated his view that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s suppliers are becoming “more lenient” on price, thus boosting the company’s gross margins. In addition, he notes that the iOS ecosystem is “excited” about the iPhone 6 and suggests that this is warranted. He expects shares of Apple to appreciate ahead of the iPhone 6 launch, which some estimate to be in June of next year, while others believe it could actually happen earlier.

He did leave out talk of the rumored Apple television set, which he’s been claiming will be out for quite some time.