Apple rallies post-earnings; Street focuses on margins, iPhone 6

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

"With [gross margins] stabilizing and core demand trends solid, we think investors will want to own Apple (AAPL +3%) stock into bigger-screen iPhone 6 and ecosystem-expanding iWatch/iBand launches," writes Evercore, staying bullish on Apple following its mixed FQ3 results and light FQ4 guidance.

Macquarie: "The bottom line is that the iPhone 6 reception is what matters right now." Its target has been raised by $7 to $102. At least 6 other firms have also hiked their PTs today.

Citi, which recently launched coverage at Buy, expects 140M iPhone 6 sales over the first 12 months (compares with an iPhone installed base of 300M), and thinks the adoption of installment/early upgrade plans could provide further upside.

It's also pleased with Apple's 28% Greater China growth, given fears of tougher competition from local vendors - fast-growing Xiaomi just rolled out a metal-framed flagship phone that goes for $320 unsubsidized.

9to5 Mac reports today Apple is "tentatively" planning to unveil the iPhone 6 in mid-September. Sources state the 4.7" model is set to be shown off, but add a final decision hasn't been made on revealing the 5.5" model at the event. KGI reported last week the 5.5" model could be delayed due to production issues.

The site also reports Apple is planning an October event that will likely involve an iWatch/fitness band. Apple is fresh off receiving a patent for a modular smartwatch design that includes a strap with built-in sensors and other circuitry.

Prior Apple earnings coverage