Apple, Shares Up 30% This Year, Still Seen As Bargain

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Nothing much has really happened at Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) this year. It has released strong but not spectacular earnings. It has updated some of its products, particularly the Mac, which is a small part of Apple’s revenue. It has improved its iOS. But, without the launch of a new iPhone, 2017 has been boring. However, its shares are up 30% to $150, and a number of analysts believe they could go much higher.

Apple may be the most written about stock by the media. Writers and editors are consumed by the company’s smallest announcements. But, the media considers Apple rumors to be at the core of an attraction for tens of millions of readers. Even a fake design of an iPhone 8 gets tremendous press coverage. Most rumors are about the new iPhone 8. The smartphone is the primary reason Apple’s shares trade so strongly.

The consensus among analysts is that in Apple’s 2018 fiscal year, revenue will rise 12% to $254 billion compared to the fiscal year 2017. The highest estimate is revenue of $291 billion. EPS for the same year is expected to be $10.63 compared to $8.91 in the fiscal year 2017. The high estimate for the same period is $12.78.

Even rumors that the iPhone 8 may not launch until October have not dampened Apple’s surge in share price. Originally, most experts believe the phone will be released in September. If it is delayed, it is probably because of a shortage of new components.

The average forecast sales of the iPhone 8 are 170 million across the quarter when it is launched, then the holiday quarter, and then the first full quarter of the calendar year 2018.

What may be unprecedented sales of the iPhone 8 has caused some analysts to peg Apple’s share price as high as $200 within the next year. That would put Apple’s market cap well above $1 trillion. And, that would push shares up 60% from their calendar 2017 low.

What could cripple the run in Apple’s stock if its iPhone 8 sales top expectations? Most likely, only an overall market sell-off. And, betting on that is a crap shoot