Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the beneficiary of what has become a very rare analyst upgrade for the case to buy Apple shares. The stock was initiated by Cantor Fitzgerald in new analyst coverage with a price target of $777 for the stock. Before you get too excited here, the analyst call is from Brian White who was formerly with Topeka Capital. It is an extremely bullish call, but from an analyst who was always bullish on Apple before.
Be advised that the analyst previously had a price target north of $1,000 for Apple during and after the boom, but earlier in 2013 White lowered his target down to an odd $888 target because Apple’s stock price had fallen so much.
White called the company’s fiscal 2014 a year for liftoff. The thesis is that the years of innovation will start to payoff over the coming year after a very competitive year in looking backwards. New products are expected, included the formerly much talked about AppleTV and an iWatch as well as refreshes of the iPhone and iPad models.
Apple shares rose 2% to $498.69 based upon this upgrade and with an up-day in the stock market. What is interesting is that this implies upside north of 55% for new investors. It also implies gains that would be about 10% higher than that former 52-week high and all-time high of $705.07.
This analyst call has a bit of irony or paradox to it. We consider it a regurgitated call. If this is the same analyst who was rating it before, a mere company moniker change does not necessarily mean it is a new call. Outside of that, we also cannot help but call this analyst upgrade price target out for being lower than before even if it is much higher than now.
We have no real problem with analyst calls due to changes in firms. It happens. That being said, getting back above that former all-time high over $700 is not likely going to be an easy task. The consensus price target is down at $527.17 as of Wednesday and the highest price target is $825 for Apple.
We think it is worth noting that Apple is back to be being the most valuable company by market capitalization worth some $453 billion now. For Apple to rise as much as Brian White hopes it can, Apple would be worth just over $700 billion minus the impact of any share buybacks retiring shares. The translation is that it is magically creating another $250 billion in market capitalization, and much of that has to come from real investors putting serious capital to work in Apple alone.