Apple's Stock Gains After Analyst Bumps Up Price Target

Apple Inc.'s stock rose 0.5% in morning trade Tuesday, and hit an all-time intraday high of $119.32, after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers raised his price target by 13% to $130, citing an upbeat outlook for next year's launch of Apple Watch. The new price target is 9% above current prices. Rakers noted there are still a lot of unknowns related to the Apple Watch launch, which he believes will occur late in the first quarter of 2015, but his initial estimate for sales of about 19.6 million units, and for Apple Watch gross margin of 40%, leads him to raise his earnings-per-share and revenue forecasts for 2015 to $7.85 and $218.9 billion, respectively, from $7.69 and $213.3 billion. For 2016, he lifted his earnings-per-share estimate to $9.22 and his sales estimate to $253.3 billion, from $8.88 and $242.2 billion, respectively. Raker also believes signs of strong iPhone sales could lift earnings estimates for the first half of 2015 even further. The stock has now climbed 49% so far this year, compared with a 12% gain in the S&P 500.

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