stock rose for the fourth straight session Friday, putting it on pace for a record close and within reach of an intraday record. Wall Street analystscontinueto ratchet upexpectations ahead of the company’s December quarter earnings report, which is due after the close of trading next Wednesday.
The consensus forecast calls for $102.8 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.40 a share. The Street is looking for huge iPhone sales after the launch of the iPhone 12 lineup late last year, with continued strength as well from Macs, iPads, wearables, and services.
On Friday, Cowen analyst Krish Sankar repeated his Outperform rating on Apple (ticker: AAPL) shares, upping his price target to $153, from $133.
Sankar expects the company to beat expectations for the quarter at both the top and bottom lines, driven in particular by strong iPhone demand. He’s projecting $104.5 billion in revenue and profits of $1.46 a share. The analyst estimates Apple sold 77 million iPhones in the quarter, up 97% sequentially and 7% year over year. He sees iPhone revenues of $60.1 billion, up 7% from a year ago, with services revenue increasing 26% to $16 billion.
Apple remains Sankar’s top pick in the IT hardware sector, for multiple reasons.
One, he thinks the iPhone 12 upgrade cycle should continue to drive upside to calendar year 2021 earnings. Two, he expects the services segment to “remain resilient,” with paid subscription growth trends likely to remain on track—given new offerings like Fitness+. And lastly, contributions from Mac, iPad, and wearables will “remain strong,” with long-term potential from new areas like electric vehicles and augmented and virtual reality, he writes.
Apple was up 0.9% to $138.12 in recent trading. The stock’s previous record close—reached Thursday—was $136.87. The stock’s intraday peak was 139.67, also recorded on Thursday. For the week, the stock is up about 8.7%.
Write to Eric J. Savitz at [email protected]
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