Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, whom the Apple Maven interviewed a few weeks ago, is not letting off the gas. In his opinion, Apple stock (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report will be valued at $3 trillion within the next six to nine months – thus becoming the first company to ever reach this valuation milestone.
The Apple Maven reviews Mr. Ives’ bullish thesis and the key factors that support it. Lastly, I present one rare instance in which I disagree with the Wedbush analyst.
(Read more from the Apple Maven: Apple Stock: Investors Ignore This Risk, But They Shouldn’t)
It starts with the super cycle
During his interview with Bloomberg, Dan Ives explained why Apple stock should be worth $3 trillion soon, up 18% from $2.55 trillion today. At the core of the bullish case is what the analyst calls the “elongated iPhone super cycle”.
In my conversation with Dan, he explained that Wall Street underestimates the depth of the upgrade cycle that the iPhone 12 has merely kickstarted. Rather than one wave, he sees multiple iterations of smartphone users buying Apple’s new devices over the next few years. His quote:
“If you look at it, we still have 25% of the base that has not upgraded their iPhones in the last three and a half years. 5G does not get fully embraced for the next two or three years, until the networks are built out. In China [where the 5G infrastructure is further ahead], the iPhone 12, especially the larger Pro versions, really sold extremely well.”
Services and innovation
But not all is about iPhone sales upside. Dan also mentioned two other important factors that support his bullishness: services and technological innovations.
On the former, the analyst believes that this massive segment, which produces $65 billion in revenues per year and grows at a pace of 20%-plus, is worth $1.4 trillion. The 20x implied price-to-sales valuation may seem too rich, but less so if one considers the enviable 65% op margins and solid growth prospects.
Regarding the latter, Dan points out that Apple continues to impress on the technological innovation front – something that has not been left in the rearview mirror, as some skeptics believe. I agree with this take, especially ahead of two likely product launches in the next five years: mixed-reality headsets and the Apple Car.
On the App Store risk
I tend to agree with Dan Ives on most of the arguments that he makes about Apple and its stock. However, in my view, he does not seem worried enough about the risks associated with the App Store and the scrutiny around Apple’s highly lucrative app platform.
Dan certainly recognizes the regulatory challenges. However, he sees the consequences leaning more towards fines rather than business model changes. He thinks that the risk to the 30% App Store fee is seen as contained by investors, which seems evident in lack of share price pressures as of late.
I, on the other hand, believe that the business model changes are already underway. The key question in my mind is not if there will be a negative impact, but to what extent. I believe only time will answer this question with any accuracy, starting with Apple’s fiscal Q4 earnings report and fiscal Q1 guidance to be released in October.
The most bullish of Apple analysts thinks that AAPL will be valued at $3 trillion within the next 6 to 9 months. How likely do you think that this price target will materialize within this time frame?
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(Disclaimers: this is not investment advice. The author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting The Apple Maven)