Apple's (AAPL) Price Target Raised to $133 at BTIG Following iPhone-Related Comments from Wireless Operators

September 15, 2016 8:21 AM EDT
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BTIG maintained a Buy rating on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and raised its price target to $133.00 (from $124.00). The change follows generally positive commentary from wireless companies on iPhone pre-order activity. Analyst Walter Piecyk sees these remarks as "meaningful."

"We believe that the commentary of the wireless operators over the past two days about iPhone pre-order activity is meaningful, especially in light of conservative Street expectations for Apple and the widespread belief that the marginal changes to the iPhone 7 might not be enough to stimulate device upgrades," said Piecyk. "In our view, the comments by the wireless operators have reduced the risk on whether Apple can execute on our EPS estimates, including our above consensus estimates in the December quarter, which call for a return to revenue and EPS growth at Apple."

"Operators cited the recent “Free iPhone” promotions, but were not willing to credit this as the primary driver of growth. We would note that Sprint and T-Mobile had similar iPhone lease based promotions last year," noted the analyst. "Sprint and T-Mobile would also like to point to possible market share gains and, while there is some underlying truth to that, pre orders tend to be driven more by upgrade activity of existing customers, not the addition of new customers. We could speculate that increased supply from Apple may have delayed the timing of when phone shipment dates were pushed back on the pre-order web pages of the operators, thereby increasing finalized order completion, but we have no data or comments from operators to support or refute that thesis."

Piecyk said it's unclear if Apple will provide first weekend sales data, but he thinks this could provide an additional catalyst on Monday.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Apple click here. For more ratings news on Apple click here.

Shares of Apple closed at $111.77 yesterday.

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