Apple Inc. Stock Roars To New High… And $900B Valuation

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock touched a new record high of $175.78 on Wednesday, carrying the company’s market capitalization past the $900 billion mark for the first time ever. Apple is the first company to achieve such a valuation, although it has been on track to hit $900 billion since its earnings report last week.

Apple stock rides on earnings strength

The iPhone maker is just a part of the tech rally that’s been spurring major milestones throughout the sector, although it is the most valuable company by far. Of note, Apple stock will have to close at about $175.30 or more in order to fully notch the $900 billion market cap because as of right now, we’re only talking intra-day numbers.

Several analysts boosted their price targets for Apple stock on Friday following the company’s strong earnings results. Not only did the report show strong iPhone numbers despite the fact that there were no iPhone X sales yet, but Apple’s other main products also picked up steam. The Apple Watch finally had its big quarter, possibly because of the LTE-equipped Series 3, which can make phone calls without an attached iPhone. Apple also recorded $8.5 billion in services revenue.

Apple stock price target to $235

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White has had one of the most bullish price targets on Apple stock for quite some time, and following the earnings release, he boosted his price target to again make his target one of the highest on the Street. His new price target For Apple stock is $235, up from $208 previously.

He described the sentiment around Apple’s earnings call as “the most upbeat that we have heard in quite some time,” and he also believes that sentiment around this year’s iPhone cycle is also “turning positive but still has a long way to go.” He’s looking forward to positive surprises in iPhone average selling prices and gross margins, courtesy the iPhone X and “next year’s iPhone XI.”

Aside from the beats across all products, he also pointed out that Apple has returned to growth in Greater China.

Reviewing Apple’s 10-K

Since the earnings release, analysts have been combing through Apple’s 10-K filing, and Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noted that the company’s off-balance sheet commitments soared to a new record high. The high off-balance sheet commitments, combined with vendor non-trade receivable and inventories highlight that memory supplies are tight and that Apple is preparing for a strong iPhone cycle.

Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt estimates that Apple has about 6 million finished iPhones sitting on its balance sheet. He notes that some of this could be other products, but because of the “unique timing” for the production ramps of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, he believes most of the increase in inventory on the balance sheet is iPhones. He also pointed out in his note that Apple’s 10-K did not include any commentary on the higher inventory levels, so these are merely speculations.

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Huberty believes Apple is planning for strong iPhone demand and that its 10-K reveals that it is making purchase commitments in order to “lock in favorable pricing, especially in memory.”

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