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Apple iPhone 12 Sales Seen Getting Lift From Tax Refunds, Stimulus Checks

Apple (AAPL) iPhone 12 sales in the U.S. appear to have gotten a boost in March from consumers spending tax refunds and economic stimulus checks, a Wall Street analyst says. Apple stock rose on Friday.




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KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh said his firm’s data shows a “solid pickup” in iPhone sales in March. U.S. iPhone sales last month increased 31% from February, vs. the three-year average increase of 1% for the period, he said. On a year-over-year basis, iPhone sales jumped 109%.

“IPhone 12 sell-through saw a healthy seasonal increase spurred by tax refunds and reopening catalysts,” Vinh said. Those catalysts include government stimulus payments and increased Covid-19 vaccinations, he said.

Among iPhone 12 models, the Pro and Max versions continue to see strong demand, offsetting weak demand for the entry-level Mini handset.

Apple Stock Rises On iPhone 12 Sales News

“Overall, carriers’ feedback indicates the demand for iPhone 12 continues to surpass the prior iPhone 11 cycle, despite weakness associated with the 12 Mini,” Vinh said.

The news is positive for Apple stock as well as component suppliers. Vinh reiterated his overweight, or buy, ratings on Broadcom (AVGO), Cirrus Logic (CRUS), Qualcomm (QCOM), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) and Synaptics (SYNA). He kept his sector weight, or neutral, rating on Qorvo (QRVO).

In afternoon trading on the stock market today, Apple stock rose 1.4%, near 132.20.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, Mizuho Securities analyst Vijay Rakesh warned that smartphone component supply shortages could crimp sales in the June quarter. In a note to clients, he lowered his second-quarter estimates for wireless chipmakers Skyworks, Qorvo and Qualcomm.

However, he has a bullish outlook for handset sales in the second half of 2021. He raised his price targets on shares of Skyworks and Qorvo on expectations for a second-half rebound. Rakesh has buy ratings on chip stocks Broadcom, Micron Technology (MU), Qorvo, Qualcomm and Skyworks.

Apple Faces Tough Second-Half 2021 Comparisons

Meanwhile, Apple stock bear Jeff Kvaal, an analyst with Wolfe Research, reiterated his underperform rating. He kept his price target of 115 on Apple stock.

In a note to clients Friday, Kvaal said residual strength in high-end iPhone 12 sales should ease in the current quarter. Apple also will face tough year-over-year sales comparisons for Macs, iPads and the App Store starting in the June quarter. Those categories benefited from the work-from-home and learn-at-home trends spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

Apple stock has been consolidating for the past 11 weeks at a buy point of 145.19, according to IBD MarketSmith charts.

Follow Patrick Seitz on Twitter at @IBD_PSeitz for more stories on consumer technology, software and semiconductor stocks.

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