Apple Inc. Stock Value Debated By Analysts

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares have spiked over the lst couple of weeks following the impressive sales of its latest smartphones, but some analysts are not convinced about the future of the stock, says a report from Americasmarkets.usatoday. Analysts discuss the potential of the stock in the report, and a majority of the investors and analysts believe that Apple’s valuation can top $600 billion. The company, valued at $597 billion, is already worth more than any other company.

Can Apple hit $115?

Following strong iPhone sales, investors started hoarding Apple stock after the robust performance of the company pushed it to $102.23, creating approximately $15 billion in wealth.

On average, Wall Street analysts have assigned an Outperform rating on the stock with a 12-month price target of $115 per share. Analysts like Steven Milunovich of UBS are bullish on the stock noting that it may cross $115 if it trades for 14 times his 2015 earnings estimate.

However, there are analysts who are skeptical about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and are questioning the rise in the stock. Analyst Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest has not assigned any price target on the stock, but indicated that the fair value of the stock is $96 at least for the next 12 months. Hargreaves said that the stock price is already reflecting the good news, and that after a solid quarter, customer growth will “slow substantially” in fiscal 2016.

Investors overlooking risks

Investors bullish on the stock are hoping for more extraordinary growth, and are under the impression that Apple is different from other companies, according to Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC. Gillis note that Apple relies heavily on the iPhone as the iPad shipments have posted a year over year decline for three quarters.

Gillis expects the phone business to reach saturation for the simple reason that the cellphone market has been surging 5% per year. Smartphones have taken the market by storm, and Apple is cashing in on this, but Gillis said that the smartphone sales will eventually slow down. In fact, smartphone growth dropped from 46.6% in 2012 to 25% in the June quarter of 2014.

Moreover, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earns a higher margin than other smartphone makers and over time it becomes difficult to maintain that difference. Gillis said that investors are overly impressed with the stock and they are taking on risk.

“There are pitfalls,” he says. “We’ll see if AApple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can maintain.”

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