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Apple Inc. (AAPL)

  • Mon, Feb. 23, 12:39 PM
    • "Look for the stock price to rise to $160 over the next year for a 25% return including dividends," writes Barron's Jack Hough in a weekend column. "Expect a big dividend hike when the company updates its capital-return program, likely in April. The current yield looks undersized at 1.5%."
    • Hough notes Apple (AAPL +2%), unlike most tech peers, reports EPS on a GAAP basis, which (by including stock compensation and other expenses) serves to deflate the figure. He also highlights Apple's negative cash-conversion cycle - it's paid by customer for products before it pays suppliers - which is a big reason why its FY15 free cash flow/share consensus ($10.17) is well above its EPS consensus ($8.53).
    • At $160, Apple would trade at 17x forward EPS, on par with the S&P 500's current valuation. Hough: "Considering Apple’s understated earnings, its cash hoard, its avenues for growth, and its history of beating expectations, it’s time for the stock to carry at least a market valuation, if not a premium."
    • Meanwhile, Mizuho's Abhey Lamba, who downgraded on Jan. 15 (ahead of earnings), remains cautious. "From 75 million units we saw in the December quarter, we think [iPhone sales are] going to decelerate more meaningfully into the March quarter. We think the Apple Watch is not big engouh to offset the gap the phone is going to leave."
    • Shares have rallied to fresh highs. Apple's market cap is now at $768B.
  • Wed, Feb. 11, 3:09 PM
    • Four months after setting a $203 Apple (AAPL +2.1%) target in an open letter, Carl Icahn has upped his target to a lofty $216 in a new letter.
    • Icahn's target is based on a multiple of 20x an FY15 (ends Sep. '15) EPS estimate of $9.70 - up from a prior $9.60 and well above an $8.57 consensus - and $22/share in cash.
    • Notably, Icahn's EPS estimate is based on a 20% "real cash earnings" tax rate, rather than the 26.2% "effective" tax rate used by Apple, which recognizes taxes on unremitted foreign earnings. He declares his estimate is only $0.39 above consensus if the tax rate difference is accounted for.
    • As one would expect, the activist investor uses his aggressive target to renew his call for larger buybacks. "[W]e continue to hope that Tim Cook and Apple’s Board of Directors, on behalf of all shareholders, take advantage of this dramatic market value anomaly and increase the magnitude and rate of share repurchases while this remarkable opportunity still exists."
    • Apple, whose shares were already rallying before Icahn's letter was published (perhaps aided by Tim Cook's Goldman conference talk), has made new highs and is closing in on $125.
  • Wed, Jan. 28, 1:03 PM
    • Himax (HIMX +6.7%), QuickLogic (QUIK +7.4%), and Pixelworks (PXLW +5.4%) are posting big gains on a day that has seen many mobile chipmakers rally in the wake of Apple's strong FQ1 iPhone sales print.
    • Himax's LCD driver ICs and QuickLogic's sensor hubs go into Android devices rather than Apple's mobile hardware. Pixelworks counts Apple as a client, but details about the business relationship are limited. Many think an SoC being developed by Pixelworks for large-screen applications (through a "co-development partnership") is meant for Apple.
    • Possibly helping Pixelworks' cause: Tim Cook stated on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) CC (transcript) 25M Apple TV units have now been cumulatively shipped, up from 20M last April, and that the product is one which Apple "[continues] to look at and work on and find a way that we can make even greater contribution than what we’re doing."
    • QuickLogic reports on Feb. 4, Pixelworks on Feb. 5, and Himax on Feb. 12.
  • Wed, Jan. 28, 10:36 AM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has seen at least ten target hikes after soundly beating FQ1 estimates on the back of a big iPhone sales print. Shares are less than $2.50 away from a high of $119.75.
    • UBS' Steve Milunovich: "The 74.5mn unit iPhone figure deserves all the adjectives analysts can muster, especially given that (1) supply/demand balance was not achieved until Jan, and (2) 49% sell-thru growth bettered the sell-in increase of 46% ... our guess that iPhone 6+ was 30% of total iPhone units likely was near the mark." He sees an 18% iPad unit decline and "flattish" iTunes revenue as the only negatives.
    • BTIG' Walter Piecyk: "The strongest criticism you may hear today is that Apple created too difficult a comp for the December 2015 quarter based on an unsupported assumption that ‘everyone upgraded their phone in 2014.’ We believe that assumption is wrong."
    • Citi believes new smartphone upgrade/installment plan options from carriers are providing a lift, as is interest in 64GB models. It adds shares are still only trading at 13x forward EPS (10.4x exc. cash).
    • On SA, Orange Peel Investments sees room for shares to run to $150 (18x forward earnings), aided by smartphone and PC share gains and China growth. Paulo Santos offers a contrarian take, arguing the improving quality of cheap Android phones is a threat.
    • Prior Apple earnings coverage
    • Update (12:45PM): Carl Icahn has chimed in on CNBC. He now asserts Apple is worth $215/share (above a prior $203 target), and reiterates his call for bigger buybacks.
  • Wed, Jan. 28, 9:14 AM
  • Tue, Jan. 27, 4:57 PM
    • Thanks to a stronger-than-expected iPhone mix, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had an FQ1 gross margin of 39.9%, up 200 bps Y/Y and above guidance of 37.5%-38.5%. FQ2 GM guidance is at 38.5%-39.5%.
    • Product line performance: iPhone revenue (69% of total revenue) +57% Y/Y to $51.2B; units +46%. iPad -22% to $9B; units -18%. Mac +9% to $6.9B; units +14%. Services (iTunes, App Store, Apple Pay, etc.) +9% to $4.8B. Other products (iPod, Apple TV, Beats, accessories, etc.) -5% to $2.7B.
    • Regional performance: Americas revenue +23% to $30.6B. Europe +20% to $17.2B. Greater China +70% to $16.1B (pent-up demand for bigger iPhones). Japan +8% to $5.4B. Rest of Asia-Pac +33% to $5.2B. International sales were 65% of revenue.
    • With the 6 Plus providing a boost, iPhone ASP rose to $687 from $603 in FQ4 and $561 in FQ3. iPad ASP fell to $419 from $432 and $443. Mac ASP rose to $1,258 from $1,200 and $1,255.
    • SG&A spend rose 18% Y/Y to $3.6B, and R&D spend 43% to $1.9B.
    • $5B was spent on buybacks. Apple ended FQ1 with over $177B in cash/investments, and over $36B in debt.
    • AAPL +5.3% AH to $114.90. FQ1 results, PR.
  • Tue, Jan. 27, 4:33 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): FQ1 EPS of $3.06 beats by $0.46.
    • Revenue of $74.6B (+29.5% Y/Y) beats by $6.91B.
    • 74.5M iPhones (above expectations), 21.4M iPads (near expectations), 5.5M Macs (near expectations).
    • Expects FQ2 revenue of $52B-$55B vs. a $53.79B consensus.
    • Shares +5.1% AH.
    • Press Release
  • Tue, Jan. 27, 3:51 PM
    • Payment-processing/telemetry services provider USA Technologies (USAT +7.3%) says it will support Apple Pay (NASDAQ:AAPL) on ~200K "wireless acceptance points," by bringing the NFC-based payment platform to "owners and operators of coffee brewers, vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment, parking pay stations and other self-serve appliances.."
    • NFC reader maker On Track (OTIV +3.1%) is also rallying. Three months ago, On Track issued a PR declaring its Saturn 6500 NFC readers support Apple Pay when used with USA Technologies' ePort wireless payment services.
  • Thu, Jan. 15, 2:12 PM
    • With the Nasdaq off 1.2% and Mizuho's Abhey Lamba having downgraded to Neutral, Apple (AAPL -2.5%) is posting a sizable decline. 42.5M shares have been traded thus far vs. a 3-month daily average of 51M.
    • Following Asian supply chain checks, Lamba thinks Apple could report 70M+ FQ1 iPhone sales on Jan. 27, with "a healthy mix of iPhone 6 Plus." He also expects "management to report significant backlog and inventory below normal levels."
    • However, he believes there's "limited upside" to an FQ2 iPhone consensus of ~50M, and more broadly expects slowing iPhone sales momentum going forward due to growing penetration rates and "likely saturation of smartphones at the upper end of the market."
    • Meanwhile, Pac Crest's Andy Hargreaves, who downgraded following the September iPhone 6/Watch launch event, is out with another cautious note (previous), stating the FQ2 consensus is "at the high end of what Apple is likely to guide to." He sees "particular risk around Apple Watch unit volume, iPad unit volume and sales and marketing expenses."
    • Rosenblatt's Brian Blair is more bullish: He forecasts 72M FQ1 iPhone sales, and reports a supply/demand imbalance still existed in nearly all of the iPhone 6's 110+ markets at the end of December. Blair expects calendar 2015 iPhone sales to rise 16% to 220M. On Tuesday, Canaccord reported seeing tight supplies for some iPhone 6 models at U.S. carrier stores.
  • Wed, Jan. 14, 10:41 AM
    • JMP's Alex Gauna: "We have reviewed U.S. Patent 8934045 in its entirety, and reached the conclusion that it represents minimal, if any, change to the GoPro (GPRO +2.7%) risk profile, as to us it hints more at a smartphone and smartwatch use case, and the mention of waterproofing and mounts are contextual rather than central to the application."
    • Gauna doubts Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will compete head-on against GoPro, and states CES featured "a good number of GoPro imitators but none that were able to match the brand energy, performance, use cases, and/or software and social networking value proposition of the Hero lineup."
    • Wedbush's Michael Pachter: "I don’t think these patents imply that they’ll issue a standalone device. Rather, they’re going to figure out a way to bolt a phone to your head or put it at the end of the stick and the patents are for the remote control and how it works for the camera."
    • AppleInsider observes Apple's patent was effectively acquired from Kodak in 2012. "A side-by-side comparison of the application as assigned to Kodak and the patent as granted to Apple shows only minor changes."
    • Shares are still down 10% from Monday's close.
    • Yesterday: GoPro tumbles after Apple camera patent published
  • Tue, Jan. 13, 12:05 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been granted a patent (application filed in 2012) for a sports camera system that can be controlled using a phone or watch.
    • The camera can be mounted on/secured to various devices, such as a bike helmet, motorcycle handlebar, or surfboard. It would also feature a "mounted mode" that adjusts for vibrations.
    • Volatile GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) has sold off hard following the patent's publication. Dougherty, however, suggests taking the news in stride. "For starters, we note that Apple patents many, many inventions and some small percentage tend to see the light of day as an actual product. More than anything, we see a scenario in which Apple will want to have a way for users to record from their iPhones and iPads remotely using the Apple Watch as a remote."
    • GoPro's mobile apps support remote camera control. The company's product line also includes its $80 Wi-Fi-based Smart Remote.
    • Update (1:24PM ET): GoPro is now down 10%.
  • Dec. 1, 2014, 10:12 AM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has fallen sharply in volatile early trading. Shares were down as much as 6.4% before quickly bouncing. The Nasdaq is down 0.9%.
    • No major news has hit the wires to trigger a large drop. Morgan Stanley did state this morning it's trimming its Apple position on account of the company's recent gains, but only by 1%.
    • After hitting $700B last Tuesday, Apple's market cap is currently at $672B. 30M shares have already been traded today; the 3-month daily average is 58.6M.
  • Oct. 21, 2014, 7:43 AM
    • "Gross margin guidance of flat (or up 50bps at the high end) vs a typical decline associated with the launch of new form factor products reinforces our thesis that the mix is gravitating strongly higher and should drive upside in revenues and gross margins," says BAML analyst Wamsi Mohan, reiterating a Buy rating with $120 price target, while boosting the fiscal 2015 EPS estimate to $7.97 from $7.86.
    • "Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) indicated that iPhone may remain supply constrained through the end of the year even as the company is on track to exceed 100M iPhones in just 6 months," says Macquarie's Ben Schachter. "That is remarkable." He reiterates his Outperform rating and lifts the price target to $118 from $104.
    • More from Susquehanna, BMO Capital, and Cowen.
    • Last night's earnings coverage
    • Shares +1.9% premarket
  • Oct. 20, 2014, 5:00 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had an FQ4 gross margin of 38%, +100 bps Y/Y and at the high end of a 37%-38% guidance range. FQ1 GM guidance is at 37.5%-38.5%.
    • Product line performance: iPhone revenue (56% of total revenue) +21% Y/Y to $23.7B, after growing 9% in FQ3; units +16%. iPad revenue -14% to $5.3B, after falling 8% in FQ3; units -13%. Mac revenue +18% to $6.6B, after rising 13% in FQ3; units +21%.
    • iTunes/software/services revenue +8% to $4.6B. Accessories +13% to $1.5B. iPods -28% to $410M.
    • Regional performance: Excluding retail, Americas revenue +17% to $16.2B (stronger than in recent quarters); Europe +19% to $9.5B (likewise); Greater China +1% to $5.8B; Japan +5% to $3.5B. Rest of Asia-Pac -3% to $1.9B. Retail +15% to $5.1B.
    • Helping margins: iPhone ASP rose to $603 from $561 in FQ3 and $596 in FQ2. iPad ASP fell to $432 from $443 in FQ3 and $465 in FQ2. Mac ASP fell to $1,200 from $1,255 in FQ3 and $1,334 in FQ2.
    • GAAP R&D spend +44% Y/Y to $1.69B. SG&A spend +18% to $3.16B.
    • $17B was spent on buybacks in FQ4, and $45B over the whole of FY14. Apple ended the quarter with over $155B in cash/investments, and over $35B in long-term debt and commercial paper.
    • AAPL +1.2% AH. CC at 5PM ET. FQ4 results, PR.
  • Oct. 20, 2014, 4:34 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): FQ4 EPS of $1.42 beats by $0.11.
    • Revenue of $42.12B (+12.4% Y/Y) beats by $2.27B.
    • 39.3M iPhones (above expectations), 12.3M iPads (below expectations), 5.5M Macs (above expectations).
    • Expects FQ1 revenue of $63.5B-$66.5B, mostly above a $63.52B consensus.
    • Shares +0.5% AH.
    • Press Release
  • Oct. 9, 2014, 8:50 AM
    • Carl Icahn has posted an open letter to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook on his website.
    • The investor calls on the company to accelerate its pace of share buybacks and makes the case that shares of AAPL are worth $203 based on projected FY16 and FY17 earnings.
    • AAPL +1.0% premarket to $101.80.
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Company Description
Apple Inc designs, manufactures, & markets mobile communication & media devices, personal computers, & portable digital music players, & sells a variety of related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, & third-party digital content.
Sector: Technology
Country: United States