Will Apple (AAPL) Stock Respond Today to This Analyst Action?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank of America/Merrill Lynch reiterated its "buy" rating for Apple (AAPL) today and increased its price objective to $130 from $120 after raising iPhone unit estimates.

"We raise our December quarter iPhone shipment forecast by 3 million units and March quarter shipment forecast by 2 million units for a total 5 million increase to F15 units (raising our forecast to 200 million from 195 million previously)," analysts said.

"Our estimate change is predicated on stronger than expected demand for the new iPhones and improved availability across the board for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. We reiterate our 'buy' rating on the iPhone super cycle and continued strength in gross margins," analysts added.

Additionally, the bank said its F15 revenue and EPS estimates were increased to $224 billion/$8.12 from $221 billion/$7.97, respectively.

Shares of Apple are down 1.22% to $113.66 in pre-market trading.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 56.16% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AAPL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • APPLE INC has improved earnings per share by 20.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, APPLE INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.43 versus $5.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.69 versus $6.43).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 13.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, APPLE INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • 42.68% is the gross profit margin for APPLE INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 20.10% is above that of the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report

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