Apple's stock price is back on the move, and a JPMorgan analyst says investor's should "get ready for the return of the wow factor."
JPMorgan's Mark Moskowittz says investors should get ready for Apple's 'wow factor' to come back to the stock. Moskowitz raised his third quarter earnings per share estimates on Apple to $6.58, from a previous estimate of $5.55 per share. He's forecasting a revenue increase of $27.42 billion, up from a previous estimate of $24.80.
Moskowitz writes in a research note that sales of Apple's popular iPhone are "soaring." He has raised his estimate of Apple iPhone sales to 19.6 million units for the third quarter, up from his prior estimate of 17.6 million units.
"Our research inputs indicate that iPhone shipments exhibited no signs of a slowdown," Moskowitz writes. "Plus, we expect the momentum to continue, driven by the looming iPhone 4-plus refresh."
Moskowitz also thinks Apple's improving prices paid for manufacturing components for the iPhone and other products will contribute to a higher profit margin. He's increased that for the third quarter to 39.8 percent from a prior estimate of 38.2 percent.
Apple's shares traded up Thursday on the NASDAQ $1.29 per share, to $359.30 at noon, after information revealed Wednesday showed Apple is passing other personal computer vendors in the U.S. to reach third place in personal computer sales in the second quarter. Apple has passed Toshiba and Acer, after previously being in fifth place among the top U.S. personal computer sellers in the first quarter of 2001.
The recent rise of Apple's stock contrasts events of earlier in the summer. In late June, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) dropped four percent, capping the company's worst first-half stock performance in three years.
Investors were apparently spooked by competition from Google, antsy over how quick Apple can get new its new iPhone to market, and worried over the health and future involvement possibilities from CEO Steve Jobs, who's been on medical leave. Jobs is battling a rare form of cancer and is taking his third leave of absence since 1994.
"There is only one Steve Jobs; there's nobody that can replace him," said Walter Price, managing director of RCM Capital Management, which owned 2.96 million shares of Apple stock as of March 31, in a Bloomberg report.
The second-largest company in the S&P 500 behind Exxon, Apple has been a good investment in recent years, not counting the bust moments of 2008 when most every publicly traded U.S. equity got clobbered. But since 1997, when Steve Jobs returned from a hiatus as company CEO, Apple's stock has increased from a $5.48 split-adjusted price to today's trading price of more than $359 per share.
The sluggishness of Apple's stock in an active bull market in June was puzzling to some Wall Street observers, considering Apple trades at a respectable 17.12 price-to-earnings ratio after the recent climb, and the company was already on pace for a big increase in profits. But now, Wall Street is believing Apple's performance "wow factor" is coming back, and the stock is up $45 per share over the past month.