How Apple Analysts Changed Their Views for 2019 After Earnings

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) had been gutted as analysts were downgrading the company in the fourth quarter of 2018. And then CEO Tim Cook lowered the company’s own guidance immediately after the start of 2019. But when Apple reported earnings last week, the shares did not react negatively, even though many investors were still quite disappointed.

Investors are not used to weak iPhone sales trends (down 15%) for Apple, and they certainly are not used to declining revenues. What seems to have been the saving grace here is that when Cook gave weaker guidance for the coming quarter it just wasn’t as bad as many investors had expected.

After the earnings report, Apple shares were indicated up almost 5% at $162.22 ahead of Wednesday’s open. And by late on Friday, Apple was trading at $167.25.

24/7 Wall St. tracked over a dozen analyst notes following Apple’s report. Many analysts now have more cautious ratings on the stock than they did in 2018. That said, there are still quite a few Apple bulls, even if they are not quite as bullish as they had been in the past.

UBS was a standout call in that it sees most of the bad news as over for a while. The firm reiterated its Buy rating on the shares and actually raised its price target to $185 from $180.

Wedbush Securities reiterated its Outperform rating and $200 price target, noting that the guide-down for the first quarter was better than the market was fearing.

Also, a firm called Monness Crespi & Hardt reiterated its Buy rating and reportedly has raised its target to $220 from $200 after earnings.

Below are the rest of the analyst summaries seen during the week of February 1, 2019:

  • Bernstein maintained its Market Perform rating, noting that it was surprised shares traded higher after the report.
  • BMO Capital Markets maintained its Market Perform rating with a $153 target.
  • Merrill Lynch maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its price target to $180 from $190.
  • BTIG maintained its Buy rating but lowered its target objective to $189 from $197.
  • Canaccord Genuity maintained it at Buy but lowered its target to $185 from $190.
  • CFRA (S&P Global) maintained its Buy rating with a $195 price target.
  • Citi maintained its Buy rating and $170 target price.
  • Goldman Sachs maintained its Neutral rating.
  • Maxim Group maintained its Hold rating with a $160 target price.
  • Mizuho maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its target to $170 from $175.
  • Morgan Stanley maintained it as Overweight but lowered its target from $211 to $197.
  • Nomura/Instinet maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its target from $175 to $170.
  • Wells Fargo maintained its Neutral rating.

Apple shares traded at below $167 late on Friday, in a 52-week range of $142.00 to $233.47, and its market cap is about $790 billion.

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