iPhone X seen taking Apple to trillion-dollar valuation

By Reuters Markets Reuters

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Apple Inc shares rose nearly 4 percent on Friday after the tech giant reported a blowout fourth quarter and shrugged off concerns related to the iPhone X, prompting more analysts to put a trillion-dollar valuation on the company.

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The stock was on track to add nearly $34 billion to its market capitalization. At Thursday's close of $168.11, the company was valued at $868 billion.

The Cupertino, California-based company also forecast a strong holiday quarter ahead, which will include the iPhone X that started selling on Nov. 3.

"We see iPhone X unlocking pent-up iPhone upgrades, especially in China, driving more than 20 percent iPhone unit growth and a revenue and earnings beat in 2018," analyst Katy Huberty on Morgan Stanley said.

Long lines formed outside Apple stores in Asia as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone.

The company will make 30 million iPhone X units during the current quarter, Nomura Instinet analysts estimated, allaying production worries related to the glass-and-steel $999 phone.

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At least seven brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Citigroup making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $30 to $200.

With the latest brokerage actions, at least seven Wall Street analysts now have target prices for Apple that put its market value above $1 trillion. Drexel Hamilton's Brian White is still the most bullish among Apple analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters, raising his target price further to $235.

Apple's fourth-quarter results underscored the company's ability to drive growth not just on iPhones, but across its range of products, analysts said.

The company's suite now includes five different iPhone models, the iPad, the Mac and the Apple Watch as well as its fast-growing services.

Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, above analysts' estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. Mac and iPad sales too were above the estimates of most analysts.

"Apple's first-mover advantage and "easy growth" from new smartphone adopters is over, but the company appears likely to retain its existing premium customer base," analysts at Morningstar said. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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