Apple Inc. Stock Hits New High Over $120 A share

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Wall Street is jumping for joy as Apple not only smashed expectations but may have shipped more smartphones than Samsung in the December quarter

Apple shares roared right on past their previous high of $119 per share this past fall to top $120 a share briefly today not long after opening bell. The company is riding high on its big-time earnings surprise and a quarterly profit that exceeded every single other company’s reported quarterly profit ever.

More upside expected for Apple

Apple’s market capitalization is now at around $695 billion, making it more than double that of Microsoft and almost double that of Google. Unsurprisingly, analysts were very excited about Apple’s earnings report, with many of them upgrading the company’s stock after the print.

In a report dated Jan. 29, UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Peter Christiansen provided their analysis of Apple’s latest 10-Q filing. The filing explained the new breakout for the company’s Services business and the creation of its Other Products segment, which will house the Apple Watch.

The UBS team expects to see even more upside for Apple in the coming quarters. They point out that Apple saw a 35% increase in commitments for the second fiscal quarter in spite of the past trend of a decline. They add that this is consistent with continued strong demand for Apple’s products. They also point out that other obligations skyrocketed, climbing 160% year over year, which they believe is related to the Apple Watch launch.

UBS has a $130 per share price target and Buy rating on Apple.

Samsung loses while Apple wins

Another reason Wall Street is probably so excited about Apple right now is because there are signs that the company could topple top competitor Samsung in the smartphone market. Samsung’s profits tumbled 27% in the December quarter, according to the company’s earnings report this week.

Management blamed weak smartphone sales for the disappointment. Also a report suggests that Apple actually stole the Chinese market from Samsung and even China-based Xiaomi in terms of smartphone sales. So it would seem that Samsung’s loss is Apple’s gain, at least in China.

Apple’s smashing Samsung… or is it?

Now that both Apple’s and Samsung’s earnings reports are out, there is debate about which company beat the other or whether there was a tie. Min-Jeong Lee and Jonathan Cheng of The Wall Street Journal report that depending on which set of data we look at, we could say Apple beat Samsung, or Samsung beat Apple, or even that the two companies tied.

Of course Samsung never says exactly how many smartphones it shipped during a quarter, but the company did say it shipped 95 million mobile phones (including feature phones), with smartphones making up a proportion in the “upper seventies.” Lee and Cheng note that this suggests between 71 million and 76 million. Based on this, it seems as if Apple sold more smartphones than Samsung during the December quarter, but there’s no concrete answer here.

The two writers point to data released by International Data Corporation that suggested Samsung beat Apple with shipments of about 75.1 million smartphones, nabbing 20% of the market. However, Counterpoint Technology Market Research estimates Samsung’s smartphone shipments at 73.8 million units, a 15% year over year decline and fewer than Apple’s 74.5 million. And then there’s Strategy Analytics, which says they tied, both shipping 74.5 million smartphones.

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