And Now Herd-Like Apple Analysts Are Rushing To Raise Price Targets

APBarclays analyst Ben Reitzes is going to give his clients whiplash with his changing opinions on Apple.

Just two weeks ago, he lowered estimates across the board for Apple and slashed his price target to $465.

Since then, the stock has risen 17% from its low, and is now trading ~$460.

So, this morning, he’s jacking his price target to $525, and says in a note that Apple is getting ready to “retake control of the narrative.”

Here are his three reasons for upping his target:

  • “First, we feel better about gross margins – we believe that our estimates for the June and September quarters are conservative given potential trends in warranty accruals, mix and Apple’s pricing plans. This analysis points toward a “de-risked” June quarter at the very least in terms of Apple’s latest guidance. We also now believe that the so- called “low-end iPhone” may not degrade margins as much as we feared – making our “worst-case” margin scenario through 2014 less likely.”
  • “Second, we believe Apple is about to change the narrative and get investors, analysts, customers and the media finally talking about new products again – starting with a software/services/Mac event on June 10th and a likely iPhone/iPad event in September. With these events, combined with improving builds in the supply chain, we believe investors will become less concerned with the September product transition quarter and start to anticipate a large holiday quarter.”
  • “Third, upon further reflection – we didn’t fully appreciate at first how much of a relief it was for Apple to unveil a bigger buyback – at $60 billion over 3 years. Apple needed this – especially for management credibility. After seeing how buybacks have helped secularly challenged tech stocks from Seagate to even Lexmark, we simply believe that this market likes buybacks – even in tech. As a result, the buyback’s size may help the multiple a little more than we even thought a few weeks ago.”

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