Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s price target has been raised by analyst Alex Gauna of JMP Securities from $135 to $150, according to a report from Tiernan Ray of Barron’s. Gauna expects an “explosive” quarter for the iPhone maker on the back of “exceptionally strong” demand in both China and the U.S.
Strong demand for the iPhone
In the report, Gauna noted higher demand for premium capacity versions, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, along with the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini.
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Gauna said, “The iPhone 6 Plus is stocked out at all three major carriers in China.”
Long lead times in Apple’s stores in China could be seen, which is very consistent with demand in the U.S. Overall, supply is very limited, with lead times being very strong, noted the analyst. Gauna said around 90% or more of Best Buy stores in cities such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York are running short on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, and, “We like what we’ve seen,” Gauna stated.
Apple didn’t expect such demand
Previously, the iPhone maker accepted that even though its supply chain is huge and diversified, there are still hurdles to manufacturing sufficient amounts of product and quench demand. According to Gauna, low supply does not reflect low demand, but citing suppliers, the analyst said even Apple did not expected such huge demand. Higher demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will help in raising Apple’s average selling price (ASP), along with enhancing gross margin potential. Additionally, mobile demand in China is increasing, and the iPhone is a significant part of that.
JMP is estimating revenue of $67 billion for the current quarter, which is more than company’s guidance and is a 16% growth rate year over year (compared to 12% in the September quarter). For the next couple of years, Gauna expects Apple to achieve “mid-teens growth.” The analyst doesn’t “see the competitive landscape closing now,” and added that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Motorola-built “Nexus 6 is having some production issues of its own.”
On Wednesday, Apple shares closed up 1.13% at $115.93, and year to date, shares are up by over 44%.