Apple Inc.'s 12-month price target was increased to $150 from $130 at Stifel on Thursday. The brokerage also reiterated a hold rating. The target boost comes two weeks ahead of Apple's next quarterly earnings report, which Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers expects to be in line with forecasts. Stifel increased its 2017 and 2018 revenue and earnings per share estimates to reflect higher iPhone shipments. In 2017, it now expects iPhone shipments to grow 4% to 224.7 million from an earlier forecast of 215.7 million. In 2018, which will include the company's hotly-anticipated iPhone 8, it's projecting an 11.5% increase in shipments to 250.6 million, compared with 230.5 million previously. In 2015, Apple sold a record 231 million iPhone units. That number slipped to 211.9 million last year, but analysts anticipate a rebound with the new iPhone cycle. Shares of Apple gained 0.4% to $141.30 in premarket trade. They've increased 17.2% in the past three months and 31.3% in the past year, outperforming both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 . The Dow is up 3% in the past three months and nearly 13% in the past year.
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