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Apple Stock: Wall Street Lines Up Behind $3 Trillion Bull Case

Wall Street continues to support the bull case on Apple stock. We review the most recent sell-side takes and assess if now is the time to buy the dip in AAPL.

Apple stock  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report has bounced up and down in the past couple of weeks and now trades around $8 per share below my recent “trim the position” price point. But lack of momentum has not fazed Wall Street analysts, who increasingly believe that Apple will reach a market cap above $3 trillion within the next 12 months.

Today, the Apple Maven scans through the most recently published sell-side reports and assesses the ever-stronger bull case on shares of the Cupertino company.

Figure 1: Apple's store in New York, NY.

Figure 1: Apple's store in New York, NY.

(Read more from the Apple Maven: Apple Stock: Will The Apple Car Be The Ultimate ‘Tesla Killer?’)

Wall Street moves up the bar

Because Apple stock rallied as strongly as it did in late November and early December, something unique happened: despite Wall Street having a consensus “strong buy” rating on shares, the average target price had fallen below AAPL’s market value.

One of two things could have happened: either analysts would need to downgrade their views based on stretched valuations, or raise their price targets to catch up. The latter ended up happening, which suggests confidence in further upside opportunity.

Last week, we pointed out that a wave of analysts had made their case for AAPL at a $3 trillion market cap or above. On the buy side, Gene Munster from Loup Ventures even called for $4 trillion fair value on the back of opportunities in metaverse and autonomous vehicles.

The most recent report came in from Citi, on December 22. Analyst Jim Suva raised his price target by $30 to $200, citing a few positive developments ahead: (1) resilient demand for products and services in the current fiscal year; and (2) the mixed reality opportunity not fully reflected in the stock price.

The bottom line is that Wall Street is looking past the short-term headwinds that have pushed AAPL share price from $180 two weeks ago to the high $160s recently. Bearish pressures, it seems, have served as a catalyst to buy Apple stock cheaper, according to analysts.

Is it time to buy AAPL?

Late last week, I offered a plan of action for those looking to buy the dip in Apple stock. First, I still think that AAPL is a good addition to a growth portfolio that does not have any exposure to it. Otherwise, I believe that investors should:

  • Consider accumulating AAPL if the stock underperforms the Nasdaq by 5 percentage points — which I estimated could happen at $160 share price.
  • “Back up the truck” in the more unlikely scenario of a share price dip below $150.

The chart below shows that, premarket on December 22, AAPL had trailed the Nasdaq index by about 2 percentage points since my “trim the position” article. Therefore, the case for buying AAPL is slowly gaining strength, but some underperformance ahead is still not out of question.

Figure 2: AAPL and IXIC performance.

Figure 2: AAPL and IXIC performance.

(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)