Apple's Stock Price Target Raised On Analyst's Upbeat IPhone Sales View

By Tomi KilgoreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Apple Inc. gained 0.3% in premarket trade Thursday, after RBC Capital boosted its price target, citing expectations that iPhone sales will start to grow in the fiscal first-quarter ending December. Analyst Amit Daryanani lifted his stock price target to $117, which was 8% above current levels, from $115 and reiterated the outperform rating. The reason for Daryanani's optimism is his understanding that the December quarter will have 14 weeks this year instead of the normal 13 weeks, which he estimates will boost iPhone unit sales by about 5-to-6 million. He raised his iPhone sales outlook to 79 million units, above the FactSet consensus of 74 million. "While optically this is a transient impact which will create a more severe [quarter-over-quarter] drop in March-qtr, near-term this should certainly make the model look more attractive, with [year-over-year] growth resuming in Dec-qtr," Daryanani wrote in a note to clients. Apple's stock has tacked on 2.6% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 6.1%.

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