Cowen's Krish Sankar, a tech hardware and semiconductors analyst, started with an outperform rating on the stock and a twelve-month price target of $220, which is roughly 21% above the stock's current level. The average sell-side price target on Apple is $178. On Thursday, Apple shares were up 1.2% to $183.83.
Sankar sees Apple's services segment contributing $6 in earnings per share to its bottom line by 2021. Services are seen by many to be the main catalyst for Apple's long-term growth, as global smartphone demand slows. Meanwhile, competitors like Huawei and Samsung (SSNLF) are hurting Apple's market share.
But Sankar says iPhone sales are very much a part of of his $220 price target because customers are heading into the replacement phase of the phone cycle. While Apple hasn't yet announced a new line-up of iPhones, the company usually does so in the fall.
Sankar's optimism was echoed on Thursday by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, who said Apple's recent iPhone price cut is helping it win back some market share in China. An IDC report showed that Apple's market share in China by unit sales fell to 13.2% in the third quarter of 2018, down from 19.6% in the first quarter.
"After losing share in 4Q18, iPhone installed base data shows market share recovering after price cuts in early 2019," Huberty wrote in a note out Wednesday. "Apple gained share of the Chinese smartphone installed base year-over-year in January and February after losing share in the December 2018 quarter."
Apple's stock is up 15% year-to-date, outpacing the S&P 500's gain of 12.32%.
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