With the market getting extra frothy, it is legitimate to wonder whether we are in the midst of a bubble. Despite the growing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, the surge has been almost relentless since the coronavirus inflicted meltdown in March. Tech stocks, in particular, have outperformed, including the world’ largest company by market cap – Apple (AAPL).
It has become increasingly hard to keep up, as Apple has repeatedly notched new all-time highs recently. In a research note to clients, Deutsche Bank analyst Jeriel Ong ponders this exact issue.
“AAPL's prior pre-COVID peak was ~$325 back in Feb-20,” Ong noted, “and we can't say that the fundamentals behind the stock for 2021 and beyond are ~15% better than the pre-COVID era as the present difference in all-time highs today vs. back then suggests.”
Additionally, aside from “the speed and magnitude of the rebound,” going forward, Ong says, Apple’s surge is at risk of being derailed due to several possible elements. These include a contracting economy with high unemployment rates and less spending from “smaller wallets,” a second COVID-19 wave which will result in stores closing again and the risk of delays to the anticipated iPhone 12 launch.
So, with these concerns laid out, is now the time for investors to step aside and come back after Apple has cooled off?
Uh-uh. Looking ahead, the pluses outweigh the minuses.
Ong explained, “Long-term, we see investors building more confidence in 4 drivers of the stock (iPhone, AirPods, Services, and GM mix shift) as the market continues to stabilize. Simply put, while we see the risks outlined above and perhaps negative catalysts on the horizon (maybe a weak 4Q guide as a result of a delayed next-gen iPhone launch?) ultimately we continue to believe the reward/positive catalysts outweigh the risks, at least at this point in time.”
Therefore, Ong keeps his Buy rating intact, and somewhat surprisingly given the concerns, increases the price target. The figure moves up from $380 to $400. (To watch Ong’s track record, click here)
Among the analyst fraternity, Apple remains a firm favorite. AAPL's Strong Buy consensus rating is backed by 1 Sell, 6 Holds and a resounding 26 Buys. However, the Street expects shares to decline by 8%, should the $355.52 average price target be met over the following months. (See Apple stock-price forecast on TipRanks)
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