Why Apple Analysts Are Growing Much More Positive on Apple Ahead of Earnings

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is back to being everyone’s favorite stock again. It has taken a long time to get there, but the recent Samsung phone debacle has left a huge opportunity for Apple. It has been hard to ignore the rate of analyst price target upgrades for the mighty Apple of late. The 2016 bullish and bearish case was just not panning out, but the targets are on the rise.

24/7 Wall St. has noticed several key analyst calls raising ratings and/or price targets. In fact, it is more than just several comments. We also could not help but notice that Apple’s short sellers were getting out of the way. Apple also held on to the world’s most valuable brand status.

The first issue to point out here is that the consensus analyst ratings are back on the rise. Thomson Reuters had seen a slide in Apple’s price target for most of 2016, but the mid-July consensus analyst price target of $123.19 ticked up to $124.11 by mid-August. As of mid-October, that consensus analyst price target is now up to $127.50. Now keep in mind that the target price was $148.00 back at the start of 2016.

Sanford Bernstein reiterated its Outperform rating on October 13, but the price target was raised to $135.00 from $125.00.

Pacific Crest also came out positive on October 13, reiterating its Overweight rating and raising its price target to $129.00 from $121.00.

Credit Suisse came out and reiterated its Outperform rating on October 12, and reiterated a $150 price target. Their view is that the news flow points to stronger than expected iPhone 7 Cycle, and that the value of Apple trading at 10-times on a P/E ex-cash basis for 2017 is cheap.

Even Fitch Ratings came out on October 12, talking up the Samsung debacle acting as a positive for Apple.

On October 12, Mizuho maintained its Buy rating and raised its Apple price target to $130.00 from $120.00.

Jim Cramer from the TheStreet.com and from CNBC said that Apple was a clear winner from the Samsung debacle.

On October 10, S&P Capital IQ reiterated its Strong Buy rating and its price target is $130.00. This was after the Samsung debacle brings a more favorable competitive landscape and higher Android switcher rates for Apple over the next 12 months to 18 months.

On October 7, RBC Capital Markets raised its estimates on sales, with an Outperform rating and $125.00 price target. Their view was based on their recent iPhone 7 survey results, noting that average selling prices for the iPhone could materially outperform consensus expectations. RBC also said that Apple could provide a more robust December quarter guide that could be materially ahead of street expectations.

On October 5, Canaccord Genuity pointed out positive average selling price trends as well, reiterating its Buy rating and reiterating its $140.00 price target.

On October 5, William Blair’s research team called Google’s Pixel handset a science project that is no threat to Apple.  The firm has an Outperform rating and said: we believe this is another shooting star that is bound to fizzle and are confident in Apple’s leadership.

Apple shares were last seen trading up 0.4% at almost $117.50 late on Friday. Its 52-week trading range is $89.47 to $123.82, and the market cap is $633 billion.

One last recent Apple issue worth considering is that the most recent Mac sales data look disappointing.