Apple shares hit an all-time high in Sept. 2012, closing over $700, following the launch of the iPhone 5. Since that time, Apple experienced a rough patch, with Wall Street placing doubt on the company and CEO Timothy D. Cook, as iPhone sales slowed, and revenue growth slowed for much of 2013 and into the first part of 2014.
Since Apple reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and showed the iPhone is still in demand, Apple has experienced something of a renaissance on Wall Street, with analysts raising price targets and upgrades seemingly every day. The latest is from Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, who upgraded shares to "overweight" after downgrading them in April for the first time in a decade as Cook has "solidified his strategy and re-gained the confidence of Apple stakeholders in many ways -- reversing many of the warning signs we saw earlier in the year."
When adjusted for the recent 7-to-1 stock split, Apple share prices has almost finished completing a cup and handle pattern, which as described by Investopedia is:
"A pattern on bar charts resembling a cup with a handle. The cup is in the shape of a "U" and the handle has a slight downward drift. The right-hand side of the pattern has low trading volume. It can be as short as seven weeks and as long as 65 weeks.
As the stock comes up to test the old highs, the stock will incur selling pressure by the people who bought at or near the old high. This selling pressure will make the stock price trade sideways with a tendency towards a downtrend for four days to four weeks... then it takes off. Below is an example of a cup and handle chart pattern:"
Reitzes has compared Apple to Google's (GOOG) run in 2013, when Google shares were re-rated. Following a second-quarter earnings beat in the June 2012 quarter, as well as revenue acceleration, Google shares gained 94.4% from July 20, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2013. A similar appreciation appears happening with Apple. "It is now clear to us that Apple may be merely in the middle of its 'Google-like' rerating since our new estimates have a similar y/y revenue acceleration starting in F3Q (380 Bps improvement from F2Q) and should continue over the next few quarters," Reitzes wrote in the note.
Apple is schedule to report fiscal third-quarter earnings on July 22, after the close of trading. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Apple to earn $1.22 per share on $37.87 billion in revenue.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
>Contact by Email.