NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple  (AAPL - Get Report) are nearly flat, slightly down 0.04% to $132.95 in midday trading Tuesday, after analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note this morning that the automobile market is a huge opportunity for the iPhone maker. 

The firm believes Apple can become a major player in the sector. Morgan Stanley analysts noted that if Apple gains 25% of the auto market, the value of its auto business would be the same as the entire smartphone industry.

The firm also said Americans spend about 25% of their free time in cars, which means Apple can exploit the captive audience leveraging its own variety of applications.

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Analysts also said that the tech giant could "quickly" begin providing other parts of cars' interiors, along with its car dashboard system Apple Carplay.

Morgan Stanley expects the strength of Apple's brand and its design will help the company compete with the strongest names in the auto sector.

Cupertino, CA-based Apple designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, as well as a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and applications.

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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. 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:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 47.72% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 67.31% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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 47.7% 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 ($8.58 versus $6.43).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Computers & Peripherals industry average. The net income increased by 37.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13,072.00 million to $18,024.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 30.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.5%. 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report