Apple (AAPL) - Get Report shares hit a fresh all-time high Thursday, pegging the value of the world's biggest tech company at $2.5 trillion, as analysts deliver a series of bullish calls ahead of its third quarter earnings later this month.
Apple has risen more than 15% over the past month amid a sharp pullback in Treasury bond yields, which boosts the value of high quality tech companies, as well as a series of Wall Street upgrades ahead of its June quarter earnings on July 27.
Morgan Stanley's Kathy Huberty joined the fray Thursday, lifting its price target in the tech giant by $4 to $166 per share, citing stronger demand forecasts and improving supply-chain dynamics heading into Apple's iPhone 13 launch in the fall.
"While share price performance post earnings may be more muted given Apple's recent outperformance, we are buyers heading into the iPhone 13 launch in September," Huberty said in a client note. "We see the combination of mature replacement cycles, increasing 5G adoption, improving retail store traffic, longer battery life and camera quality, and share gains against Huawei as drivers of iPhone outperformance relative to past cycles."
Apple shares were marked 0.6% lower on the session at 148.23 each in mid-morning trading, after hitting an all-time high of $150 each just after the opening bell, a price that values the Cupertino, California-based tech group at $2.5 trillion.
Apple was the first U.S.-listed company to reach a $1 trillion valuation when it surpassed that mark in August of 2018. It reached $2 trillion on August of 2020.
Huberty also cited this week's Bloomberg report that suggested Apple is looking to build 90 million next-generation iPhones this year as it prepares for the release of pent-up 5G handset demand.
That thesis was echoed by Taiwan Semiconductor, the world's biggest chipmaker and a crucial Apple supplier, earlier today as it forecast September quarter revenues that could reach a record $15 billion.
South Korea-based Samsung, the world's biggest chipmaker, said earlier this month that June quarter profits are likely to rise by 53% from last year to 12.5 trillion won ($11 billion) with analysts betting that an increase in semiconductor shipments, as well as stronger prices for memory chips, will offset a slowdown in their handset sales.
Huberty has June quarter revenues for Apple pegged at $74.7 billion, around 2% ahead of consensus, and September quarter earnings at $83.2 billion.
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".
Earlier this week, JPMorgan's Samik Chatterjee added Apple to his 'analyst focus list', and boosted his price target by $5 to $175 each, citing "a path to outperforming investor expectations over a longer time horizon rather than just the upcoming earnings print."