Two analysts boosted their price targets for Apple stock (AAPL) again based on expectations for the iPhone 8. Just about the only question we have on this now is when they will decide that they’ve raised their price targets enough for it. At this point, many analysts have raised their price targets for Apple stock (AAPL) multiple times based solely on iPhone 8 rumors, although we may finally have one analyst who’s about to say enough’s enough.
Apple stock (AAPL) added to Analyst Focus list
In a research note dated March 26, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall boosted his price for Apple stock (AAPL) from $142 to $165 and added it to his Analyst Focus List. He believes there is “high pent-up replacement demand heading into the 10th anniversary iPhone cycle this year.” He’s now estimating that Apple will sell 260 million iPhones in fiscal 2018, up from his previous projection of 245 million, based on a 48% replacement rate. He adds that his December quarter estimate is 86 million, compared to the consensus of around 80 million.
Hall is convinced that the OLED display that’s rumored for the iPhone 8 is a go and believes that there is enough supply of the panels, something that’s been up for debate for a while. Others don’t believe there is enough manufacturing capacity to support an OLED-equipped iPhone, but Hall does fell there’s enough, although only for one model.
He describes this year’s iPhone models as “compelling” and expects there to be an “iPhone Pro” featuring 3D facial recognition, a glass front and back, a “structured-light-augmented main camera, a larger screen in a smaller form factor than prior 5.5″ models” and wireless charging, all for a price of around $1,000. Hall also feels that Apple may have trouble keeping demand for this ultra-premium model within the range of what its suppliers is able to produce.
A super strong iPhone 8 super cycle
Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal boosted his price target for Apple stock (AAPL) in a research note on Friday, raising it significantly from $135 to $165 per share. He based his higher price target for Apple stock (AAPL) on his analysis of data from the App Store and fresh insight from his Asia Tour, which he said convinced him that the iPhone 8 cycle will be much bigger than what consensus estimates currently suggest.
He noted that the iOS user base is more than 60% larger now than it was before the iPhone 6 launch, according to Sensor Tower. He estimates that there will be almost 665 million iPhones in use before the 8 launches later this year, compared to about 400 million going into the iPhone 6 cycle. Based on these numbers, he feels the size of the user base makes the current 239 million iPhone unit consensus for fiscal 2018 look “meager.”
“Be careful” with Apple stock
Today we finally have an analyst who’s starting to become concerned about Apple stock (AAPL) and expectations for this year’s anniversary edition iPhone. In a note dated March 27, FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi reiterated his Outperform rating and $155 price target on Apple stock (AAPL). However, he also advised investors to “be careful” because he feels that the stock is “getting more concerning.” Among the concerns he highlighted were China, India, maturity of the smartphone market, and falling gross margins for the iPhone.
He pointed to the growing pile of glowing remarks on Apple stock (AAPL) based on expectations for the iPhone 8 “supercycle,” growth in services revenue, and investments in augmented reality technology. While he agrees with all of these positives, he feels that investors should be reminded of the many risks that exist with Apple stock (AAPL) in the wake of the boost the shares received from the news about Warren Buffett’s big increase to his stake in the company.
For example, he noted that Apple has been losing large amounts of market share in China to domestic brands there. Others have suggested that there are already signs of recovery there, although Seyrafi sees no such signs or promise that the company will regain its lost share in China any time soon. He highlighted India as a concern because of Samsung’s dominance and Oppo’s and Vivo’s growth there.
Shares of Apple stock (AAPL) closed up 0.17% at $140.88 on Monday.