How bullish can one get on the world's most valuable company? Well, an analyst has predicted that shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) will touch the $1,001 mark in the next twelve months. That is 63 percent more than Apple's current stock price.
Brian White, an analyst at Wall Street brokerage Topeka Capital Markets, initiated coverage of Apple on Monday with a 'buy' rating and a 12-month price target of $1,001 on the company's shares.
In the process, he officially becomes the first Wall Street analyst to break the $1,000 forecast barrier on the tech juggernaut.
White cites demand for the next iPhone, Apple's expansion into China, and the launch of a flat-panel iTV to justify his price target, valuing Apple at nearly $1 trillion. He believes Apple is poised to take advantage of the shift from 3G to 4G LTE networks.
According to White, the Cupertino, California-based company's current stock price does not reflect its rapid growth in the last years nor its future growth prospects.
The veteran technology analyst has based the price target on his estimate for Apple's calendar-year 2013 earnings, multiplied by 17.
White previously covered Apple for Ticonderoga Securities LLC and had last set a $666 price target for Apple while at that brokerage. Meanwhile, the average price target of 46 analysts who follow Apple is $700.
Earlier this month, Apple's shares breached the $600 mark for the first time. The company's shares are up more than 50 percent in 2012.
Apple's continued stronghold on the smartphone and tablet market, its stupendous growth in earnings and revenue, and the cash horde it possess are some of the reasons why analysts continue to expect Apple's stock to rise.
White believes Apple will move the iPhone to 4G LTE connectivity this year, leading to healthy upgrade activity. Apple's next iPhone 5 is speculated to run 4G and feature a bigger screen.
He also expects China, the world's most populous country, to be a major growth driver. Apple is said to be currently exploring a deal to distribute the iPhone with China Mobile, the country's largest wireless network, and also preparing for the launch of its iPad in China.
Further, White expects the likely launch of an Apple TV product to help drive future growth and create a new $100 billion market opportunity for the company.
The recent announcement by Apple contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. of Taiwan about an investment in Japan's Sharp Corp. (SCHAY.PK) is seen as an indication that Apple is preparing to enter the TV market.
In February, Apple became only the sixth company ever to touch the half-trillion mark in market valuation. Microsoft, Cisco, General Electric, Intel and Exxon Mobil had all scaled the target, but none of them were able to maintain it.
Apple, in mid-March, announced plans to again start paying quarterly dividends, and also set a $10 billion share repurchase program. The company paid its last dividend in December 1995.
In Tuesday's session, AAPL is trading at $628.04, up $9.41 or 1.52 percent on a volume of 6.62 million shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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