Analysts and publications are lining up behind Apple Inc. (AAPL). The company's stock is on an upward trajectory after numerous reports over the weekend and this morning about its prospects. As of this writing, Apple was trading at $141.26, an increase of approximately 1% since the day's start. The stock has risen by 22% this year. Most commentary about Apple's prospects focuses on the latter half of this year, when it will release the iPhone X, its tenth anniversary phone. (See also: Apple's Next iPhone May Cost $1,000 or More.)
The Cupertino, California-based company received a thumbs up from trade publication Barron's this past Saturday. The publication predicts a 10% increase in Apple's share price by summer, when buzz about its tenth anniversary iPhone should reach a peak. Barron's claims that Apple is trading at a 35 percent discount to its counterparts. In addition, Apple's Services business will smoothen fluctuations in its revenue stream due to iPhone seasonality, Barron's claims.
Apple reported $7.17 billion in revenue from its Services division in the last quarter. CEO Tim Cook has predicted that the division will reach revenues similar to those of a Fortune 100 company later this year. Analysts have predicted average growth rates of between 17 percent to 18 percent for Apple's Services division. (See also: Apple Bets on Apps, Services to Fuel Growth.)
Analysts are also bullish about Apple. Cowen & Co.'s Timothy Arcuri raised his price target for Apple to $155 from $135 based on an assessment that Wall Street's estimates were low for the company. He stated that an aging iPhone base across the Western world and China "forms a powder keg for this launch."
Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson also came out in favor of Apple based on the expected profit margins from its Services business. He predicted that the division would account for 17% of Apple's total revenues this year, up from 11% last year. With the increase in revenues from Apple's Services division, Olson signaled a shift in the methodology for valuing the company toward a sum-of-the-parts (SOTP) approach. "A SOTP analysis leads us to a value of ~$195/share; discounted back two years (at 10%/year) suggests a current fair value of $163," he wrote. (See also: Buffet Goes All In on Apple.)