If you like Apple’s stock at its current price, you’re going to love it even more at $135 per share if one research report is correct.
JMP Securities has raised its outlook on Apple to “market outperform” and set a price target on Apple for $135 per share. In his latest research report, analyst Alex Gauna said:
“The company is in a position to enjoy resurgent growth and margin leverage through new products, new markets, and new applications. What's new and why now: Fresh month of June reporting out of Taiwan, favorable read-throughs from suppliers that reported last week, the IBM Enterprise development, and mounting indications that the iPhone 6 build has commenced, lead us to believe Apple is in a position to achieve near- and intermediate-term upside to sales and gross margin expectations.”
Gauna sees total revenues growing at a compounded annual rate of 11.4 percent from 2013 to 2018.
(Watch: Buy Apple ahead of earnings: Analyst)
But that might be too lofty an expectation, according to Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global. “That’s a bit too bullish,” she said. “Going up to that kind of a price level is probably reaching a bit high.”
Sanchez notes the stock is trading around 15 times its forward earnings, up from 12 times forward earnings earlier this year.
With Apple saying iPhone sales represent about half of its revenues,the market is keeping an eye out for the expected iPhone 6, said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. “They seem to be chasing Samsung [with a] bigger screen trying to regain lost ground that they’ve lost since they haven’t really put out a new product in the last six years,” she said. “iPad sales have been slipping. Everybody’s now awaiting the iWatch and hoping that China sales of the iPhone are going to be what propels them.”
However, Sanchez believes Apple’s sales in China have a long way to go. “Even Tim Cook says that they’re still not where they need to be in China,” she said. She added that Barclay’s $110 price target was high. “I’m still down at the $102 to $105 range,” she said.
(Watch: Analyst ups target on Apple)
Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson, agrees with Sanchez that JMP’s $135 is too high, even if he and Sanchez believe the price will be a little bit higher.
“We’re talking about a $580 billion company,” said Ross. “To get to that $135 price target, we’re talking about adding roughly another $200 billion of market cap. That’s like creating an IBM out of thin air.”
Ross sees positive signs in the shorter-term chart of Apple. After gapping to the downside in January, Apple then saw a “breakaway gap” to the upside in April. “We’re up almost 30 percent from just April alone thanks in large part to that breakaway gap,” he said. “The book tell us gaps typically come in twos and threes. So we could see another gap higher on some sort of a positive fundamental catalyst.”
Ross sees that upside only somewhere between $100 and $105 based on the longer-term chart. On Monday, Apple was trading around $94.
“We’re just within shouting distance of that old $100 level, what I call natural resistance,” said Ross, a “Talking Numbers contributor. “It’s your old high. It’s that big psychological round number around $100. I think we have what it takes and there’s enough in the fundamentals to provide the catalyst to get there.”
To see the full discussion on Apple, with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Ross on the technicals, watch the above video.