Can Apple’s Stock Rise Another 22%?

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One Wall Street analyst thinks Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares can run up another 22%. Bank of America’s Wamsi Mohan has lifted his target price to $220 from $180.

Mohan mentions Apple’s plans to move its cash hoard to the United States and better than expected success of the new iPhone as reasons for the target hike. However, Apple would need to post absolutely extraordinary results and large tech company stocks would need to continue their sharp rise.

There are a number of arguments that Apple’s potential promising future is already built-in to its share price. The stock is up 49% in the past year to $179, against a 31% rise in the Nasdaq. Additionally, the price is at an all-time high.

Analysts who are extremely bullish on the stock need to make the case that iPhone 8 and iPhone X sales will set a bar higher than sales of earlier versions of the smartphone. Apple sold over 78 million iPhones in the holiday quarter a year ago. The new iPhones have been in the market long enough that effect of the launch of the products will be evident.

Investors usually expect Apple to exceed its guidance, and this performance is often a catalyst for a run-up in its shares. In the most recently reported quarter, Apple forecast results for the December 2017 quarter:

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2018 first quarter:

  • revenue between $84 billion and $87 billion
  • gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent
  • operating expenses between $7.65 billion and $7.75 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $600 million
  • tax rate of 25.5 percent

Numbers at or below those will almost certainly trigger a sell-off, which has happened before.

The 22% forecast is not only ambitious, but it is risky. Too much potential bad news is possible, and it would push the stock down sharply.