Apple's Stock Set For Record-high Open After Morgan Stanley Boost Price Target

By Tomi KilgoreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Apple Inc. tacked on 0.6% in premarket trade Tuesday, putting it on track to open at a record high, after an upbeat research note from Morgan Stanley, which cited optimism over China sales. Analyst Katy Huberty reiterated her overweight rating but raised her stock price target to $154, which is 13% above Friday's closing price, from $150. Huberty said she believes concerns that Apple has lost its edge in China, following a 24% decline in China revenue over the past year, are misplaced. "Our analysis of upgraders and switchers suggests China could contribute outsized growth in [fiscal year] 2018," Huberty wrote in a research note. She expects Apple's new higher-priced iPhone this year will have new smartwatch-like displays that allows for a curved form factor and longer battery life, wireless charging technology, 3D sensors and more advanced artificial-intelligence capabilities, and China users tend to be "especially sensitive to new technology and form factor changes." The stock was changing hands at $136.50 ahead of the open, which is above the all-time intraday high of $136.27 reached on Feb. 15. The stock has run up 41% over the past 12 months, while the Nasdaq 100 has climbed 28% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has rallied 26%.

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