Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to release its fiscal third-quarter financial results after the markets close on Tuesday. The consensus estimates are calling for $2.10 in earnings per share (EPS) and $53.39 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the tech giant said it had $2.34 in EPS and $53.27 billion in revenue.
The iPhone maker is perhaps the number-one technology company that will win if a trade truce between the United States and China comes to pass.
The problem with the truce at the G-20 in Japan earlier this summer is that there is really nothing permanent, no agreement at the core of intellectual property transfers, and it may all come unglued without notice in the weeks or months ahead.
Wedbush’s Daniel Ives took this into consideration and issued an Outperform rating for Apple with a $235 price target. He noted that Apple has become the “poster child” for the U.S./China trade battle: “it all came down to if the Trump-Xi meeting would result in not going forward with the $325 billion in additional China tariffs that would have struck at the core of the tech ecosystem with Cupertino front and center.”
Ives believes that this takes away the biggest risk on the Apple story, for now. It eliminates roughly $2 worth of earnings per share risk that likely would have vanished had it resulted in increased costs on the iPhone. Ives noted on Apple’s reliance on China:
We continue to believe that Apple does not look at diversifying production outside of China (e.g. Vietnam, India) going forward IF the current negotiations stay on track on the threat of the $325 billion tariffs staying pure noise and not becoming a reality. While demand issues continue to not be ideal for Apple in China (although we believe the company saw a rebound this quarter vs. the prior few quarters), with roughly 60 million to 70 million iPhones in China coming up for an upgrade opportunity over the next 12 to 18 months this region remains a linchpin of growth for the Apple story. From a scenario perspective, we believe a resolution to the China tariff situation could add between $20 to $25 per share to Apple’s stock over the coming months in our opinion, as this would take away the dark cloud currently shadowing the stock … we believe this weekend’s developments out of the G20 starts to remove the albatross around Cook’s neck which remains the China trade war situation. Taking a step back, there is still more wood to chop ahead for Apple and Cook around seeing a rebound in iPhone demand globally and continued strength in its services business which we believe is key to the overall valuation, however we are incrementally more positive on the stock following developments from the G20 meeting on the tariff front.
Excluding Monday’s move, Apple had outperformed the broad markets, with its stock up about 32% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the stock was up closer to 7%.
A few other analysts weighed in on Apple ahead of the report as well:
- Cowen has a Buy rating.
- UBS has a Buy rating and a $235 price target.
- JPMorgan has a Buy rating with a $239 price target.
- Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating with a $187 price target.
- Morgan Stanley rates it as Overweight with a $247 price target.
- Merrill Lynch’s Buy rating comes with a $230 price target.
- Nomura has a Neutral rating with a $180 price target.
- Raymond James has an Outperform rating and a $250 target.
Shares of Apple traded up over 1% on Monday to $210.50, in a 52-week range of $142.00 to $233.47. The consensus price target is $213.53.