Annual sales of iPhones are expected to reach 250 million units by 2018, according to leading analysts. Following a decline in sales to just over 211 million units last year, the forthcoming debut of the widely anticipated iPhone 8 has some on Wall Street increasing their sales forecasts for Apple Inc. (AAPL), reports MarketWatch. (See also: These Stocks Will Win in Apple iPhone 8 Supercycle)

Stifel’s equity research group maintained its hold rating on Apple stock and bumped up its 12-month price target to $150 from $130 per share. Apple currently trades at $142.44 per share, close to its all-time high of $145.46. (See also, Apple May Have to Ditch Optical Fingerprint Sensor: Analyst)

Stifel boosted its target based on the increased estimates for Apple’s revenue and earnings per share 2017 and 2018, and reflect the expected growth of iPhone sales. Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers believes that sales of the iconic smartphone will top 224.7 million units this year at a growth rate of 4%. The sales of iPhones in 2018 will include iPhone 8, and the inclusion of the highly anticipated model is expected to help Apple achieve a healthy growth rate of 11.5% leading to a record sale of 250.6 million units, up from 230.5 million projected earlier. Apple sold a record 231 million units in 2015.


Analysts at Morgan Stanley also increased their Apple price target to $161 a share from $152 and affirmed their buy rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty believes that an increase in demand for the iPhone 7 Plus model will lead to higher revenues for the March quarter through fiscal 2018. Compared to the earlier average selling price (ASP) estimates of $713, her new ASP estimates stand at $753, and are expected to aid an increase in fiscal 2018 revenue. Huberty expects FY2018 (September) earnings per share 12% above the consensus, which is $10.26 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research via

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