RBC Joins Analyst Target Hike Brigade for Apple

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Earnings season is about to come on full throttle, and many analysts have chimed in which of America’s great corporate titans will be having good earnings and which are going to be under expectations. It turns out that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is expected to fare pretty well during earnings. That being said, this should be considered one of the throw-away quarters, and it is two quarters ahead of the coming iPhone 8.

RBC Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating on Apple, and the firm joined the slew of other analysts raising its targets. RBC’s new price target is $157 per share, up from $155.

RBC’s Amit Daryanani sees several things to watch in Apple’s earnings. First is iPhone commentary, as you would expect. Then there are gross margin numbers to watch, with RBC signaling that Apple sold about 51.9 million iPhones. The firm also wonders if Apple will increase its buybacks with that $200 billion or so cash trove, or maybe a dividend hike. RBC also wants to see if the services part of the business is adding more to the bottom line. And a last issue is whether Apple’s operating costs are expected to keep rising as a percentage of revenue.

Apple earnings are still roughly two weeks away, and with shares trading at $141.45, the 52-week range is $89.47 to $145.46. Apple’s consensus analyst target price was last seen at $147.61.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to identify some other recent calls from analysts. There have been many, and most have included target price hikes.

Apple shares recently hit a new high, and UBS has outlined how Apple shares could hit $200. What investors should consider here is that UBS’s official target is not really $200, and UBS is not the highest of the analyst universe.

Back on April 6, the firm Instinet (Nomura) raised its Apple price target to $165 from $135.

Needham also raised Apple’s target price to $165 from $150 during the last week of March, and Cowen raised its target to $155 from $135 on March 20.

There might be at least some concerns that shares got too far ahead of themselves. And 24/7 Wall St. wouldn’t want its readers thinking we automatically believe or trust analyst calls just because they are analyst calls.

Despite a recent drop in Apple’s stock, the reality is that Apple remains the best performing Dow Jones Industrial Average component in 2017. There is also the notion that Apple could merge with Disney, in a far-fetched analyst call that might not be as far-fetched as logic might dictate. And lastly, some websites have speculated that Apple could face an iPhone 8 delay.