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Apple Analysts Boost Targets Ahead of Earnings. The Path to a $4 Trillion Market Cap.

New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple store during the launch of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini in September.


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Analysts continue to crank out bullish notes about Apple‘s outlook ahead of the tech giant’s December-quarter earnings report, due just two weeks from now.

Apple
(ticker: AAPL) had a big run in late 2021, pushing the stock close to the $3 trillion market capitalization level, a milestone no company has previously reached. Bulls think results for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31 could spur the stock to finally eclipse that hurdle.

Apple shares on Friday were up fractionally, at $172.34, in recent trading. The company’s market cap sits at $2.81 trillion.

Loop Capital Markets analyst Ananda Baruah on Friday repeated his Buy rating on Apple shares, lifting his price target to $210, from $165. He believes the company will surpass Street expectations both on iPhone units sold and for average selling prices in fiscal 2022. Apple could post 10% to 15% growth in both iPhone and overall revenue this year, he writes, which would be well ahead of the Street consensus forecast for 4.4% growth.

Baruah estimates December-quarter iPhone units were in the 84-to-85-million-unit range, above the Street consensus at 81 million. Driven by strong iPhone sales, he’s modeling December-quarter revenue of $122 billion and profits of $1.95 a share, above consensus at $118 billion and $1.88 a share. He also thinks the Street consensus on calendar 2022 iPhone production is too low—he’s expecting 243 million to 245 million, with the Street at 240 million.

Piper Sandler analyst Harsh Kumar likewise repeated his Overweight rating on Apple shares on Friday, while lifting his price target to $200 from $175. “We believe Apple has a favorable set-up for 2022,” he writes in a research note. “We believe iPhone momentum will continue due to 5G adoption, particularly in the United States and China. In addition, we see growth in services and wearables offsetting some of our growth concerns in Mac and iPads.”  

Kumar adds that he sees healthcare and autos as “the next major growth markets for the company.” The move into those markets, he says, should set up the company to expand its valuation to $4 trillion and beyond. 

“In healthcare, we see the Apple Watch continuing to add more and more features, with the goal of eventually offering a blood sugar monitoring system,” he writes. “Within automotive, reports continue to circulate of the company’s entry into the market. We believe the move makes sense, given the car represents a hardware platform on which Apple can sell its services.”

Write to Eric J. Savitz at [email protected]

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