Analysts Still Fighting to Raise Apple Price Targets

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may not have gotten the greatest reviews about how its Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) this week will really help investors, but the number of analysts who have chimed in with higher price targets right before and after the event has been amazing. 24/7 Wall St. has captured some of these for our readers to review ahead of the stock split.

One first thing to notice is that trading volume has lightened up on Tuesday, but four of the past five trading sessions have had elevated trading of more than 12 million shares on average. One of those sessions was over 20 million shares, but that was Friday, the day that the stock hit an 18-month to 20-month high.

Apple’s stock was reiterated with a Buy rating and the price target was raised to $710 from $660 by Canaccord Genuity. The firm said that it believes that the WWDC takeaways and its May wireless surveys are all pointing to Apple being very well positioned for a strong iPhone 6 upgrade cycle. (Tuesday)

Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating after the conference. What stood out though was that the firm did at least raise the price target to $600 from $560. (Tuesday)

Dan Niles, a former analyst who is now a portfolio manager, said on a CNBC appearance that the WWDC event actually had nothing of any real meat for investors. (Tuesday)

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray appeared on CNBC Monday late afternoon to talk up Apple’s prospects. He is one of Apple’s biggest bulls, and he is also one of the top analysts rated who cover Apple. Munster has a Buy rating and a $730 price target for Apple. (Monday)

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Our own Paul Ausick called the WWDC news less than stellar — a nothing. (Monday)

Goldman Sachs raised its price target for Apple to $720 from $635. The firm’s take is that Apple’s next big thing is not hardware but an iOS platform differentiation. It also expects that the upcoming hardware refreshes will act as a strong driver of earnings momentum. (Friday)

Argus also maintained its Buy rating but raised its price target to $700 from $610. Argus implied that Apple’s purchase of Beats for $3 billion is something the company can obviously afford, making the world’s largest seller of music get faster growth in streaming rather than sales of individual artist recordings. (Friday)

Wells Fargo merely maintained its Market Perform rating, but the firm did lift its implied price target range to $595 to $640 from its prior range of $515 to $585. (Friday)

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If you go back to Friday, Apple’s consensus price target was close to $641, and it is a couple of dollars higher now. As a reminder, those price targets often take a while to work their way into the research summary systems.

Apple’s peak was $644.17 on Friday, and shares were trading with a $636 handle on Tuesday. Some of the weakness may be that the record date of June 2 for its stock split has already come to pass.

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