Analyst Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech told clients Tuesday that he "feels comfortable" recommending AAPL at current levels. The comments came in a research note to clients obtained by The Mac Observer in which he also advised his clients to expect conservative guidance for the March quarter when Apple announces results for the December quarter on Wednesday, January 21st.
Mr. Marshall said that he expects Apple to turn in GAAP results for the December quarter -- Apple's first fiscal quarter -- of US$9.85 billion and earnings per share (EPS) of $1.50. This is towards the higher end of Apple's guidance of $9-$10 billion in revenue and EPS of $1.06-$1.35. Wall Street's consensus estimates are currently at $9.87 billion in revenue and EPS of $1.43.
Looking forward to the March quarter, Mr. Marshall expects Apple to continue with its typically conservative guidance by guiding investors to expect some $7 billion in revenue with EPS of $.80.
"However," Mr. Marshall wrote, "it is also well known that Apple prefers to guide conservatively and recently has beaten its March revenue and EPS guidance by approximately 10% and 25%, respectively. Therefore, if AAPL guides March '09 to $7.0bil and $0.80, we would expect the actual numbers when reported to be closer to ~$7.7bil and $1.01."
Mr. Marshall also advised clients to Buy AAPL, saying that current valuations have appropriate negative factors built into the stock.
"We aren't smart enough to pick the absolute bottom," he wrote, "but feel strongly the right call is to start slowly building positions here. In fact, based on the trading patterns of major technology companies that have either issued large negative pre-announcements or weak earnings (witnessed by INTC last week), we wouldn't be surprised to see AAPL shares trade up on this type of guidance."
AAPL is trading lower in the early afternoon trading session Tuesday. As of this writing, the stock is at $79.08 per share, down $3.25 (-3.95%) in 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.