Apple Inc. (AAPL) Before Earnings: Which Analysts Got It Right?

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Just two weeks before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Q2 reports are revealed, and the company is already the talk of the town. Top analyst Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest sees potential in Apple’s product sales, recommending BUY Apple, while Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um believes that Apple will actually face some growth challenges and recommends HOLD Apple . To review all analyst recommendations about Apple, download TipRanks.

Analyst Maynard Um reiterated his HOLD Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rating, noting there is “long-term opportunity in the stock,” but “the company will first have to contend with potential erosion of its gross margin and problems growing sufficiently given its $467 billion market cap.” Maynard applauds Apple for creating “one of the leading ecosystems in the industry (along with Google), and we believe new entrants in the market will find it difficult to compete (though we acknowledge mini-ecosystems will likely continue to sprout).” However, emerging markets are being driven by lower priced smartphones and Maynard fears that with the hiring of former CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, and the former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, Apple has a “mindset toward high-end luxury goods with healthier margin, rather than lower end commodities.”

Maynard also fears that smartphones will shift back to telcos and eventually hurt margins. He notes, “While history might suggest that each “s” cycle and the resulting gross margin expansion would lend itself to a more positive story for Apple, what complicates the product-cyclical story, in our opinion, aside from the extremely limited visibility at this point in time, is our view of the potential balance-of-power shift between the operators and the handset vendors.”

Maynard’s past recommendations of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and other computer related stocks, have earned him a place as the number 2085 analysts out of 2993, with a -0.7% average return over S&P-500 and a 49% success rate of recommendations.

On the other hand, the 52nd ranked analyst, Andy Hargreaves, is not as concerned about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and recommends BUY with a $635 price target. Based on “relatively strong iPhone sales,” Andy believes Apple shipped “at least 39.7 million iPhones,” along with 17.5 million iPads, suggesting “the potential for as much as 2.0 million units of upside to our FQ2 iPhone estimates.”

Unlike Maynard, Andy is not focused on Apple being able to reach the masses with a cheaper phone. Andy thinks Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has room to raise prices on the iPhone 6 saying, “(1) we believe it can without meaningfully affecting total unit sales, and (2) supply checks suggest the potential for Apple to continue selling the iPhone 4s beyond the iPhone 6 launch.”

Andy also has a history recommending Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), helping him earn +7.6% average return over S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and a 59% success rate of recommendations.

To continue following these analyst recommendations after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases its Q2 reports, be sure to download TipRanks, and start making informed financial decisions with advice you can trust.

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