Apple Inc. is poised to be the first company to reach a $1 trillion market cap, RBC Capital analysts said Wednesday. Apple shares have been on a tear, with the stock gaining $56 billion in market capitalization a week after it reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings expectations. And despite the already large gains, RBC analysts said they believe there is more upside left, particularly as Apple nears its mid-September phone launch. They calculate that historically Apple's stock has a median return of 15.6% in the 90 days prior to the launch of a new product cycle. Additionally, they say Apple's strong gross-margin performance, as well as better expected sales in China next quarter should sustain the stock momentum beyond the phone launch. The analysts have a base case of earnings per share of $10.50 for the next quarter, but see a bull case in which EPS reaches $12 or above, boosted by the new iPhone. They reiterated an outperform rating and $176 price target. Shares of Apple have gained 11% in the past month, outperforming the S&P 500's gain of 2%.
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