As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is gearing up toward the release of a new iPhone, presumably called the iPhone 5, a Wall Street analyst said Apple stock could reach $666 next year.
Looking over Apple's stock price performance surrounding the past four iPhone launches, the real money was made leading up to the iPhone event.
In each of the past four years, Apple stock has always moved higher in the two weeks prior to the iPhone event, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White wrote in a note to clients.
However, this year appears to be the exception with an 8 per cent decline in Apple's stock price versus a 6 per cent drop for S&P 500 registered ahead of the Oct. 4 event.
White said the relative outperformance of Apple's stock versus the S&P 500 Index has averaged nearly six percentage points in the two-week period leading up to the past four iPhone events, followed by a more modest two percentage points of outperformance but down slightly in absolute terms from the event until the launch, excluding 2007 due to a long gap.
In light of Apple's underperformance in the two weeks leading up at the iPhone event and with the stock still trading at just 9.4x our CY12 pro forma EPS estimate, combined with the momentum in the company's portfolio, we would rather own Apple than any other tech company in the current environment, White said.
In addition, the analyst claims that Apple stock could break the $650 barrier next year.
Despite the stock moving higher in anticipation of the iPhone 5 launch and data points suggesting healthy demand trends in 3Q11, we believe Apple's stock can reach $666 over the next year and the stock only trades at 10.4x our CY12 EPS estimate (ex-cash), White said.
Apple should launch the iPhone 5 with less lag time after the media event versus iPhone 4 given the less than typical unveiling. At the same time, the international ramp is expected to be faster versus the iPhone 4 and the carrier base is now larger at 228 relationships as of July, and China will play a more important role this time around.
Speculations are rife that the iPhone 5 would have edge-to-edge display, bigger screen, better battery life, 8MP camera and A5 chip.
Shares of Apple closed Monday's regular trading session $374.60, down $6.72 or 1.76 per cent on Nasdaq. In the after hours, they lost another 60 cents to $374.