4 Apple Analysts React To Q3 Earnings: 'We Are Buyers On Any Near-Term Weakness'

Apple, Inc. AAPL reported solid quarterly results Tuesday, with strength evident across the board.

The Apple Analysts:

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives maintained an Outperform rating and $185 price target for Apple shares.

Needham analyst Laura Martin maintained a Buy rating and $170 price target.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty maintained an Overweight rating and increased the price target from $166 to $168.

Raymond James analyst Chris Caso reiterated a Buy rating and $185 price target.

'Drop The Mic' Quarter For Apple, Wedbush Says: Apple's top- and bottom-line beat in the June quarter underlined the ongoing iPhone and 5G supercycle, Wedbush analyst Ives said in a note.

"Overall we would characterize this as a "gold medal" performance by Apple during the quarter especially when considering the chip shortage overhang," the analyst said. 

The quarter marks the second half and the start of the back stretch of the 5G supercycle and a "drop the mic" quarter for Apple, he said. 

The outlook was healthy and cautioned with chip shortage comments, a prudent and smart approach heading into its next iPhone launch in September, Ives said. 

Geographically, China, with 58% year-over-year growth, was a major star of the show, Ives said. Roughly 20% of iPhone upgrades will come from this region over the coming year with the launch of the iPhone 13, the analyst said.

"With 5G now in the cards and roughly 40% of its "golden jewel" iPhone installed base not upgrading their phones in the last 3.5 years, Cook & Co. have the stage set for a renaissance of growth in Cupertino," he said. 

Needham's Takeaways From Apple's Earnings Call: A shortage of Mac and iPad parts in the September quarter suggests a headwind to revenue growth, Needham analyst Martin said.

The gross margin came in at 43.3%, supported by 70% gross margin for the Services business, the analyst said. 

Product gross margins rose to 36% due to an iPhone revenue mix shift toward the iPhone 12 Pro+ and Pro Max, she said. 

The China strength is attributable to very strong 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max sales in China, Martin said. 

Of the total Macs and iPads sold in China, about two-thirds were new to the product, the analyst said.

About 85% of watch buyers in China were new to the product, compared with a global average of 75% in the June quarter, she said.

With emerging markets touted as a key growth area, the SE model at the low end is required to onboard users into the Apple ecosystem, Martin said. 

"5G is driving adoption at the high end, since folks expect to own their iPhones for 3 years and want to be ready for 5G, whenever it arrives." 

Related Link: Why This Apple Stock Analyst Says It's Time To Buy

Morgan Stanley Would Buy Apple On Weakness: Apple's third-quarter results have increased the confidence the tech giant will grow in the December quarter and in fiscal year 2022, Huberty said.

Demand strength is underpinned by strong growth across all regions and products/services as well as a recent acceleration in installed base growth and services engagement, the analyst said. Due to the stronger-than-expected demand, especially for the iPhone, and a tight supply chain, Apple will likely exit the September quarter with a backlog, she said.

"This improved set-up makes us more constructive on AAPL shares near-term and we are buyers on any near-term weakness." 

RayJay Optimistic On 2021 iPhone Cycle: Apple's implied 30% revenue growth, though lower than today's pace, is ahead of the consensus, RayJay's Caso said.

"We remain optimistic for this year's iPhone cycle, given pent-up demand following last year's late launch and a large installed base yet to move to 5G," the analyst said.

Additionally, the likelihood of better availability of more popular high-end models should improve the mix, Caso said.

Apple Has Further Upside, Tigress Says: Even though the third quarter is usually one of Apple's seasonally slower times, it benefited from the combination of work and learn at home and anywhere, which drove sales of iPads and Macs, Tigress Financial analyst Ivan Feinseth said.

Strength in Services was driven by record levels of advertising and payments revenue and record levels of subscriptions for music, video and cloud services, the analyst said. The ongoing processor shortage led management to issue conservative guidance, he said.

"I believe further upside exists from current levels, continue to recommend purchase and view any weakness as a buying opportunity."

Why Munster Expects Sustainable Revenue Growth:  The June quarter results are further evidence of Apple's proven process and its outcomes, Loup Funds managing partner Gene Munster said in a blog post.

Apple continually improves its hardware, software and services ecosystem to deliver more value to customers and more value for shareholders, he said. 

Growth will likely slow to mid-to-high digits in 2022 as opposed to the Street estimate for low single digits, Munster said.

"We believe that 7%-9% top-line growth is sustainable for a few years until Apple launches into new product categories like AR, wearables, wellness, and automation (maybe vehicles)."

At that point growth will step up again, putting investors' growth sustainability questions to rest, at least for a few more years, Munster said. 

AAPL Price Action: At last check, Apple shares were down 1.07% at $145.20. 

Related Link: How Apple Neutralized Any Short-Term Weakness The Market Was Anticipating 

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

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Posted In: Analyst ColorEarningsNewsPrice TargetReiterationTop StoriesAnalyst RatingsTechChris CasoDaniel IvesGene MunsteriPhoneIvan FeinsethKaty HubertyLaura MartinLoup VenturesMorgan StanleyNeedhamRaymond JamesTigress FinancialWedbush
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