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Apple at Fresh Record High on iPhone Production Boost Report, JPMorgan Upgrade

Apple could ask suppliers to build as many as 90 million next-generation iPhones this year, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, a 20% increase from its previous target.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report shares jumped to a fresh record high Wednesday following a report that the iPhone maker has asked suppliers to boost production by as much as 20% this year as it looks to meet improving customer demand. 

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Apple is looking to build 90 million next-generation iPhones this year, with the world's biggest tech company expected to get a boost from the launch of new 5G handsets later this year. Earlier this month, Apple's main rival, Samsung Electronics, said June quarter profits are likely to rise by 53% from last year to 12.5 trillion won ($11 billion).

Shares were also buoyed by an upgrade at JPMorgan, which added the stock to its 'analyst focus list' as Samik Chatterjee boosted his price target by $5 to $175 each.  

"We are adding Apple shares to the Analyst Focus List as a Growth idea as data points supporting our recently highlighted favorable view on the shares continue to trickle in, including upside revision to iPhone 12 build estimates by Apple Supply Chain analyst, William Yang, as well as continued strength in sales of Mac devices," Chatterjee wrote. "While the above drivers lead to an increase in our near-term forecasts, the recent momentum led by better market share, drives us to also estimate higher sustainable volumes in future quarters, leading us to see a path to Apple outperforming investor expectations over a longer time horizon rather than just the upcoming earnings print."  

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Apple shares were marked 2.1% higher in mid-day trading Wednesday to change hands at $148.75 each, just shy of the intra-day record high of $149.45 it hit earlier in the session.

Apple is set to report its third quarter earnings on July 27, with CFO Luca Maestri cautioning investors in late April that the group is likely to experience a "steeper than usual" sequential revenue decline thanks in part to supply constraints linked to the global semiconductor shortage following Street-blasting sales of nearly $90 billion for the three months ending in March. 

Apple said iPhone revenues rose 65% from last year to $47.94 billion, well ahead of the $41.7 billion Street forecast, thanks to what CEO Tim Cook called "strong demand for the iPhone 12 family".

Greater China revenues, Apple said, rose 88% from last year's pandemic trough to $17.728 billion, while overall services revenues rose 26.6% to $16.9 billion.