Why Apple Is a Buy Because of Mobile Payments

NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Investors may want to go long Apple (AAPL) should the company announce a mobile payments strategy at its event next week, according to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes.

Apple is widely expected to announced two new iPhones on Sept. 9, but speculation has also intensified following several reports Apple is working with payments companies Visa (V) , Mastercard (MA) and American Express (AXP) , which Reitzes believes could capture the attention of Apple's increasingly large customer base. "We look for the event to showcase larger iPhones with a set of key new features that could get the customer base more excited," Reitzes wrote in the note. "Aside from solid new hardware specs, we believe Apple could unveil a long-awaited payments offering, linking NFC to iBeacon technology, leveraging the company's vast trove of credit card information within iTunes." Reitzes rates Apple shares "overweight" with a $110 price target.

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Apple shares were lower in early Thursday trading, off 0.29% to $98.94, following a 4.2% decline on Wednesday.

Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook has hinted the company could look into mobile payments, via TouchID, which was introduced on the iPhone 5s. "The mobile payments area in general is one that we've been intrigued with, and that was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID," Cook said on a Jan. 27 earnings call. "But we're not limiting ourselves just to that. So I don't have anything specific to announce today, but you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices vs. the competition that it's a big opportunity on the platform."

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