Apple analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets made headlines last year when he jacked his price target for the stock up to $1,111.
That target was the highest on Wall Street. And its numerical symmetry gave it a "cartoon" quality that had people chattering about it. The target also highlighted the general arbitrariness of price targets in general, which are highly subjected.
Like a lot of other Apple bulls, White has had to temper his optimism this year in the face of Apple's new reality--the stock is doing nearly 40% from the September peak and now trades below $450. But White is still fantastically bullish on Apple. He cut his price target from $1,111 to the equally memorable $888, which would represent a double from today's price.
So, why does White think Apple's stock is going to double in the next 12 months?
And what has to happen for that to happen?
First, White thinks Apple will decide to give more of its massive $135 billion cash pile back to shareholders, in the form of increased dividends and share buybacks. White think Apple could nearly double its dividend, which would give it a yield of about 4%. And the company could buy back $100 billion worth of stock, which would radically shrink the share base (especially if the company is buying stock at the current price).
Next, White thinks Apple will release a bunch of new products over the next year: A new iPad, a bunch of new iPhones, and, eventually, an Apple TV.
White also thinks that Apple will eventually sign an iPhone distribution deal with China Mobile, the massive Chinese wireless carrier, which has more than 700 million subscribers. This should radically boost iPhone sales, especially if Apple already has a cheap iPhone in the market.
Lastly, and importantly, White points out that Apple's stock seems cheap. The stock currently trades at about 10-times trailing earnings, and if you factor out the cash, the multiple is even lower than that. When a stock's multiple is that low, it doesn't take much excitement to drive the price up. And White thinks we'll eventually get that.