There's a mixed vibe on Apple Inc. (AAPL) Wednesday, despite one big announcement.
Longbow Research downgraded the stock today, while analysts at Morgan Stanley reiterated their bullish take on the iPhone maker, TheStreet's Jim Cramer pointed out on CNBC's "Mad Dash" segment.
So what was the take? Longbow argued that Apple's iPhone cycle is "good, not great." The reception from consumers has only been "lukewarm," argues analyst Shawn Harrison. As a result, he downgraded Apple stock to neutral from buy, although he does not have a price target on the stock.
On the flip side, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty -- one of Cramer's favorite analysts -- contends that the iPhone "supercycle" is alive and well. Specifically, traction for the iPhone X remains strong. Further, her four-week data ending Dec. 17 suggests that Apple continues to gain market share in China, contrary to the opinion of other analysts.
As a result, Huberty reiterated her overweight rating and $200 price target on Apple, implying just over 14% upside to current prices.
It seems Longbow is taking more of a short-term outlook on Apple, while Huberty is thinking long-term, Cramer says. Essentially, one comes down to trading Apple stock, while the other argues for owning Apple stock. On that score, Apple investors have to pleased with tech giant's announcement Wednesday of a $350 billion investment in the U.S. over next five years.
We all know where Cramer, who also manages the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio, stands on that argument: "I'm in the own-Apple camp," he says, an outpost he has occupied for several years.
"In Huberty I trust," he continued, "she's been right far more than anyone else. I see no reason to suddenly doubt her work. She has the best China sources."
Apple is a "consumer products story that sells at a ridiculously low multiple," he pointed out, comparing Apple to stocks like Procter & Gamble (PG) and Colgate Palmolive (CL) . It trades at just 13 times 2018 earnings, Cramer reasoned, a low valuation for a company with such great margins.
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