Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray is raising his price target to $US120, up from $US105.
Apple is currently at ~$103.2o, which is an all-time high. Though, Apple’s market cap is ~$613 billion, which is far behind it’s all-time market cap value of $US665 billion. (This discrepancy is thanks to Apple’s massive share buyback program.)
Munster’s note is light on a detailed argument for upping the price target. Munster’s price boost basically comes down to the following, “We remain buyers of Apple and are raising our price target to $US120 (from $US105) ahead of the upcoming launch of new products and services that will likely give investors optimism that the platform theme is expanding (e.g., iWatch, HomeKit, HealthKit, payments).”
More interestingly, Munster warns that Apple’s opening weekend iPhone 6 sales could be a disappointment.
“In the near term, we caution that there will likely be noise in the opening weekend iPhone 6 sales numbers given difficult comps from last year’s 5C channel fill,” says Munster.
When Apple announced opening weekend iPhone sales of 9 million units last year, it included all the new iPhone 5C models in the announcement, says Munster. Munster estimates Apple only sold 5.4 million iPhone 5S models during opening weekend last year.
Last year, Apple started selling the iPhone 5S, and the plastic iPhone 5C, which replaced the iPhone 5 in the iPhone line up, at the same time. Munster says Apple took all the iPhone 5 models out of stores and replaced them with the iPhone 5C. That led to “channel fill” of over 3 million iPhone units.
Therefore, Apple is at risk of announcing a massive drop in opening weekend iPhone sales this year.
Munster estimates Apple could sell 6.5 million iPhone 6 units during the opening weekend. That would represent 20% growth on a year-over-year basis against the iPhone 5S. However, against the 9 million number Apple announced last year, it will be a 28% drop in year-over-year numbers, which will look ghastly.
It’s possible Apple chooses not to announce anything. That, too, would be problematic. People would start assuming the worst.
Munster thinks this “may prove to be a speed bump to shares,” but says, “we expect additional product launches and the platform theme to move shares higher through year-end.”