UBS Raises AAPL Target to $280 Following Earnings Report

UBS analyst Maynard Um raised his 12-month target price for Apple's stock from US$265 to $280 after the company reported record breaking earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter.

Mr. Um's decision to raise his target price for Apple's stock $15 came in part from the company's strong sales numbers and the potential for continued growth.

Apple reported record Mac and iPhone sales for the September quarter with 3.05 million Macs, 7.4 million iPhones, and 10.2 million iPods sold. GAAP revenue for the quarter was $9.87 billion, and profits were $1.67 billion, or $1.82 earnings per share. Non-GAAP revenue was $12.25 billion, while non-GAAP profits were $2.85 billion.

"We continue expect greater 'recurring' iPhone hardware revenue (growing installed base and stickiness of the App Store), which should drive more visibility into iPhone sales," Mr. Um said. He added that new partnerships and the end of exclusive carrier deals will help drive iPhone sales numbers higher, too.

"Longer term," he said, "We believe a service to provide seamless access and mobility of digital content across all products may be the draw that drives additional future Apple product sales."

Mr. Um sees Apple's December quarter guidance as overly conservative. Apple told investors it expects to report quarterly revenue between $11.3 and $11.6 billion, well below Mr. Um's $12.5 billion projection. Apple's gross margin guidance at 34 percent appears conservative, too, considering margins in five of the past six years have been flat or slightly up, and there is a greater Mac and iPhone retail mix compared to previous years.

Looking forward, Mr. Um is raising his fiscal 2010 GAAP and Pro forma EPS figures from $7.70 and $11.80 to $7.84 and $11.68. For fiscal 2011, he is projecting $9.18 and $12.03, up from $8.89 and $11.64.

Mr. Um is maintaining his "Buy" rating for Apple's stock with a $280 target price, up from $265. Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at $202.10, up 12.24 (6.45%).