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Barclays Enthused About Apple Inc.'s Payment System

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) which suffered a mini four percent crash earlier this week on valuation and security concerns, got another plug Thursday for its widely anticipated plan to tap into retail payments.

Barclays' Ben Reitzes sees more than just an electronic version of the credit card.

"A pivot toward software and services could help Apple become much more than just a hardware company," Reitzes said in a note.

Embedding the service within the company's latest iteration of its iPhone -- which some have dubbed the payPhone -- "will provide a deeper layer of interaction with customers," Reitzes said, rating the stock at Overweight with a $110 target.

This could, in theory, "open the door to more data-related opportunities -- and recurring revenue streams -- with marketers and retailers," Reitzes believes.

Reitzes noted the relatively thin profit margins of hardware manufacturers and pointed to the value of Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc., which he said trade at about 21 times estimated 2015 earnings.

Apple now trades at about 12 times 2015 estimated earnings, Reitzes said, adding that the multiple "could reach the mid teens with some good execution."

With unveiling of the iPhone slated Tuesday, "there's an emerging consensus to sell on the news, or even before the news," Reitzes said. "But this cycle is obviously much bigger than the last two" company product launches.

Apple closed Thursday at $98.12, down 0.83 percent.

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Mar 2015Credit SuisseMaintainsOutperformOutperform
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Mar 2015Cowen & CompanyMaintainsOutperform

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