Apple stock is still hovering near its all-time high as another analyst has boosted his price target yet again because of the iPhone 8. A day doesn’t go by without another new analyst report pushing expectations for the tenth anniversary model up even further. You’d think one of these days we’d reach a point where they couldn’t raise their targets for Apple stock any further, but then again, perhaps not.
And that’s why it seems Wall Street’s fanaticism over the iPhone 8 is worse than it was for the iPhone 6 a few years ago.
The iPhone will be the next iPhone 6
This time it’s Canaccord Genuity T. Michael Walkley who raised his price target for Apple stock, bumping it up by $11 to $165 per share and reiterating his Buy rating. He predicts that the company will sell 246 million iPhone units in fiscal 2018, which would be more than the 231 million units it sold during the iPhone 6 cycle.
Walkley believes that the iPhone 7 Plus enabled the company to extend its share of the premium end of the smartphone market last year, especially because of the Galaxy Note 7 recall. He thinks that these two factors combined to push the installed base of iPhones past 570 million as of the end of last year, which in turn helped the company enjoy record services revenue during the December quarter.
Apple stock riding on “iPhone the great”
Samsung finally revealed the Galaxy S8 earlier this week, but unsurprisingly, Apple stock bulls don’t see anything that might threaten the iPhone. Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White even went so far as to grant a new name to the iPhone 8: “iPhone the great.”
He doesn’t think the S8 or its larger sibling the Galaxy S8+ will be enough to offset the damage that was done to Samsung from the recall of the Note 7 or the enthusiasm around the iPhone 8 (Is anyone as excited about it as Wall Street analysts are? Starting to think all that enthusiasm is coming from hype created by analysts trying to convince investors to buy Apple stock.) And even though the stock is still around its all-time high, White feels it is “among the most underappreciated stocks in the world.”
In the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Samsung narrowed the bezel to make the display’s viewing area bigger, and White said this is the same thing he expects the iPhone 8 to do. The Korean firm also used glass on both the front and back of both phones, another feature he expects from this year’s tenth anniversary iPhone.
Some do have concerns about Apple stock
Even though most analysts have been gushing non-stop about the iPhone 8 and its implications for Apple stock, we do find someone with some concerns every so often. InvestorPlace contributor Vince Martin hit on perhaps the single biggest problem for it right now, which is all this “iPhone the great” commentary.
While Martin does describe the iPhone as “the most successful consumer product of all time,” especially given that it has been successful enough to carry Apple from the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago to its position as the most valuable company in the world. The problem is that the company doesn’t really have any other big products. In fact, most of the time Apple stock has been struggling was at times when investors were questioning whether the rest of the company can grow. Indeed, if the iPhone ever stops growing, it won’t look good for Apple. After all, the iPad was a blockbuster in the early years, but sales are falling. Sales of the Apple Watch – which every analyst was convinced would be the “next big thing” aren’t even enough to be broken out of the “other” revenue category (What happens if analysts are wrong about the iPhone 8 too?).
Martin notes that non-iPhone revenue hasn’t grown much at all over the last five years, as it stood at $77.8 billion in 2012, rose to $80.6 billion in 2014, but then pulled back in 2015 and didn’t top $79 billion again in 2016.
Services and ETFs
He’s also skeptical about whether the company’s services business will turn out to be as great as it would have investors believe because of concerns about competition from Netflix, Pandora Media and a wide array of others. He doesn’t feel that the services business has been the answer of what comes next after the iPhone.
He also notes that exchange-traded funds have had an impact on Apple stock this year because the company is so massive that any change in its stock moves the indices. He describes major tech-focused ETFs as having “almost comically overweight positions in Apple” stock, such as the iShares U.S. Technology ETF, which has Apple weighted at greater than 16%. He argues that ETF buying has helped along this year’s gains in Apple stock
Apple stock closed down 0.19% at $143.66 on Friday.