As tech titan Apple Inc. (AAPL) soars past the $1 trillion mark, some bulls on the Street expect shares to rally another 20%, pointing to a variety of factors that justify the stock trading a premium valuation. In a detailed Barron's story, analyst Jack Hough highlighted four key reasons that the Cupertino, Calif.-based smartphone maker is poised to grow another $200 billion, including its financial strength and growth potential, its expanding services business, a solid outlook for the iPhone in the fall quarter, and other hardware products including wireless earbuds called AirPods and Apple Watches. (For more, see also: Apple in Eye of the Storm as Trade War Expands.)
Tech Giant Deserves Premium Valuation
On Thursday, Apple became the first U.S. company to pass the $1 trillion mark, trading at a multiple of 15.8 times projected earnings for the next four quarters, according to FactSet. Barron's noted that while the shares of the global tech behemoth are roughly 5% more expensive than the broader S&P 500 index, investors should still hold on to the stock due to its relative measure of risk, financial strength, and growth potential.
4 Reasons Apple's Stock Will Keep Rising
- Company's financial strength, growth potential
- Expanding services business
- Fall outlook for iPhones
- AirPods, Apple Watches faring well
While Apple has been viewed as one of the firm's at risk of rising global trade tensions, the company was also a major beneficiary of the corporate tax cuts passed in December 2017. Apple has more than doubled its spending on share repurchases over last year as it brings back billions of cash stored overseas at a reduced U.S. tax rate.
Apple's most recent quarterly report pleased the Street and sent shares up 6%. The firm posted an increase in revenues of 17% to $53.4 billion and earnings per share (EPS) up 40% to $2.34.
Investors were particularly encouraged by the growth of Apple's businesses outside of the iPhone, including its burgeoning services and accessories segments.
Revenues from services, including the App Store, Apple Music, movie rentals, AppleCare repair plans, and online storage, are growing quickly, wrote Hough. The segment grew 31% year-over-year (YOY) in the fiscal third quarter to reach $9.5 billion. "Other products," or non-iPhone hardware like Apple TV and watches, jumped 37% YOY to $3.7 billion.
iPhone Sales Still Dominant
Despite sound prospects for Apple's new businesses, more than 60% of its total revenues still come from iPhone sales. Barron's indicated that this fall, a new iPhone model with a 5.8-inch OLED screen and a potential dual-Sim functionality could reel in customers who are waiting longer to replace their smartphones.
"In addition, Apple still has cash and investments equal to nearly a quarter of its market value. With a rising portion of profits coming from subscriptions, its earnings trajectory in recent years has had a statistical smoothness befitting a consumer-staples company, but with much faster growth," added Hough.
Closing up 0.5% on Monday at $209.07, AAPL shares reflect a near 24% gain year-to-date (YTD) compared to the S&P 500's 6.6% return. (For more, see also: Apple CEO Calls Tariffs a ‘Tax on the Consumer’.)