Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall raised his price target on shares of Apple Inc. Thursday. In a research note obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Marshall cited Apple's already impressive performance in recent week, plans for an iPhone ramp in June, and the markets willingness to pay higher multipliers on some stocks. Based on these issues, he maintained his "Buy" rating on the stock, and moved his target price to US$135 per share, up from $120.
Mr. Marshall is also expecting Apple to turn in a "solid" March quarter when the company reports on April 22nd, 2009. He believes the company will beat its own guidance and current Wall Street estimates with revenues of $8.3 billion and $1.20 in earnings per share (EPS). That compares to guidance from Apple of $7.6-$8 billion and EPS of $.90-$1.00 per share.
For the current quarter, he is estimating revenues of $8.6 billions and EPS of $1.19, higher than consensus estimates of $8.2 billion in revenues and $1.12 EPS. He is expecting Apple to offer its "usual" conservative guidance of $8 billion in revenues and $1.00 EPS.
He's expecting Apple to report 3.15 million iPhones sold for the March quarter, along with 11.3 million iPods, 2.27 million Macs broken down to 1.616 million portables and .651 million Mac desktops. He's estimated similar Mac shipments for the June quarter with 11.5 million iPods and 5 million iPhones.
Helping to move more iPhones is not only the expected iPhone update in the June quarter, but also the ramp of more than 70 carriers around the globe that are now carrying the device. That's up from 51 in September of 2008 and only 6 in June of 2008.
"Since the recent market lows on March 9," he wrote, "AAPL shares have materially outperformed the S&P 500 by ~1,600bps (42% vs. 26%, respectively) due to rising iPhone build plans for the June '09 quarter -- now common knowledge on the Street. The market is willing to pay higher multiples now and we are bumping our target multiple to 17x (from 15x) our pro forma CY09 EPS of $8.00 to arrive at our new target price of $135 (from $120)."
Shares in Apple gained more than 3% Thursday, closing at $121.45, a gain of $3.81 (+3.24%), on moderate volume of 21.1 million shares trading hands.
*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.