Morgan Stanley Target Increase Boosts AAPL to Record High

Morgan Stanley raised its price target for Apple’s stock Wednesday, bumping it from US$515 to $720. Analyst Katy Huberty, whose previous target was surpassed on February 23rd, told clients that, “[investors] still underestimate the earnings potential” of the company. The stock continued its record run, ending the day with a new closing high of $589.58, up $21.48 (+3.78 percent), on massive volume of 50.5 million shares trading hands.

AAPL Chart

AAPL Chart for March 14th, 2012
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Ms. Huberty cited enterprise adoption of Apple’s iPad, which was highlighted on Tuesday by a Changewave Research study, as one area where Apple can see revenue increases. The study found that some 22 percent of companies were planning on buying tablets for their employees in the second quarter of 2012, and that 84 percent of those companies were planning to buy iPads in particular.

She also sees a strong upgrade cycle for the company’s iPhone product line if Apple delivers an LTE-capable device later this year. Apple’s first LTE product, the new iPad, was introduced on March 7th, leading many to believe that the next iPhone would support LTE, too.

The analyst believes that Apple can also make more gains in emerging markets. The company’s footprint in China, for instance, has been growing in leaps and bounds.

Lastly, Morgan Stanley has added Apple to its “Best Ideas List,” and just in the nick of time, considering that AAPL had risen 40.3 percent since the beginning of the year. Counting today’s gains, the stock has climbed 45.6 percent this year.

Apple set a new intra-day high, as well, hitting $594.72 just before 2:00 PM. The company’s new closing high gives the company a market capitalization of $549.7 billion.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.