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Apple iPhone, Watch Estimates Boosted At Morgan Stanley On 'Strong Demand'

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In a report published Thursday, Morgan Stanley analysts maintained an Overweight rating on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), with a price target of $166. The analysts raised the iPhone and Apple Watch estimates after their AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker and US Wearables survey indicated robust demand.

"Our AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker, which compiles sell-through data using web search analysis, indicates 53M unit end demand for the current quarter. Importantly, demand continues to top expectations despite Apple approaching the end of the current product cycle," the analysts wrote.

The data indicated that strong y/y growth is being driven by the emerging markets, especially China.

Morgan Stanley has maintained or raised its iPhone builds every month in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cycle, with demand continuing to be stronger than expected. The estimate for iPhone units for the June quarter has been raised from 46M to 50M. The estimates for FY15 and FY16 have been raised by 5 percent to 240M and by 7 percent to 249M.

"Apple Watch demand increased consistently over the past six months across three comparable AlphaWise surveys of US consumers. Importantly, Apple enjoyed the biggest increase in Watch purchase intentions post making the product available in mid-April," the analysts said. The estimate for Watch units in the first 12 months has been raised by 20 percent from 30M to 36M.

The EPS estimates for 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been raised from $8.94 to $9.32, from $9.83 to $10.66 and from $10.70 to $11.72, respectively.

Latest Ratings for AAPL

Jun 2017MizuhoDowngradesBuyNeutral
Jun 2017Pacific CrestDowngradesOverweightSector Weight
Apr 2017Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweightOverweight

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