Analyst Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech Research characterized Apple's stock as, "a must-own technology bellwether," glowing praise for a company that just a few short years ago was the subject of numerous obituaries. In a research note to clients obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Marshall said to expect a blowout December quarter for Apple, and that the recent pullback in the stock is likely to be mirrored by a rebound.
The analyst is currently modelling for 11.3 million iPhones, 3.3 million Macs, and 19.8 million iPods during the December quarter, and is offering estimates of US$12.5 billion in revenue for the quarter and earnings per share of $2.27. This is roughly 6% higher than The Street's consensus of $11.85 billion in revenue and EPS of $2.04.
Another interesting point touched on in his research note was the importance of iPhone to AT&T, where he said the device was responsible for more than 90% of Ma Bell's total postpaid net subscriber additions in the September quarter.
"In our view," he wrote, "this is a staggering amount and is the main reason why [AT&T's] postpaid net addition base has gained ground and overtook [Verizon] during the last several quarters."
Still. Mr. Marshall believes that Apple will benefit by allowing Verizon to carry the iPhone, giving Apple even more market penetration.
The analyst also commented on the importance, or lack thereof, of Windows 7 to Apple's Mac business, telling clients that his firm's analysis leads him to conclude that "no negative correlation exists on [Apple's] hardware sales when Microsoft launches a new OS."
He added, "Ironically, we believe new OS launches from [Microsoft] may have even acted as a 'delayed accelerant' to [Apple's] computing sales. However, we believe [Apple's] success (or failure) in the computing market is largely idiosyncratic (or company-specific) in nature and not dependent on others in the industry."
Lastly, Mr. Marshall noted that Apple has more cash in its vaults than Microsoft, Cisco, or Google, and the $37 per share of AAPL is the highest in the technology industry.
The analyst maintained his $235 price target for AAPL, and reiterated his "Buy" rating on the stock.
Shares in Apple traded higher in the early afternoon session Wednesday - as of this writing, the stock was trading at $193.35, higher by $3.48 (+1.83%), on moderate volume.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.