Apple’s historic feat in becoming the first publicly traded U.S. company to clinch a $1 trillion market capitalization has several analysts on Wall Street, normally a super bullish crowd, doubting whether the iPhone maker’s shares can keep climbing at the same lofty pace.
Though shares have bounced more than 8.5 percent over the past three days, analysts across the Street only expect Apple to rise another 1.8 percent over the next 12 months, according to the consensus analyst forecast collected by FactSet. That’s a far cry from the 31 percent rise over the past year.
Especially when compared with the nation’s other largest companies, which consist of Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook, the forecasts look even less impressive. Facebook, for instance, is projected to soar another 20 percent by next August while shares of Amazon are expected to reach $2117.07, implying 17.8 percent upside from Wednesday’s close
Notorious for their bullish leanings, Wall Street analysts have generally followed the resurgence in technology stocks with rosy investment strategies and higher price targets.
Canaccord Genuity’s Michael Walkley defended his $220 price target on shares of Apple.
“You need earnings to continue to move higher to push the stock materially above $220 per share. The multiple has expanded and in our view the earnings really need to continue to expand,” he said. It’s “really now about the new iPhone rollout.”
The subdued bullishness on Apple’s share price is likely due to more modest iPhone sales, according to several Wall Street analysts, who told CNBC that consumer demand for more innovation has forced the Cupertino, California-based company to increase the selling price of its phones.
“The general issue is that Apple has had innovation but it’s coming at a higher price, and they’ve had to raise the price point for the their thanks to higher component costs,” added Raymond James’s Chris Caso. “The gains that they’ve seen in the iPhone thus far … have been driven by price increases. The question outstanding is: have they gotten to the end of revenue gain they can make by increasing the price?”
The company is expected to release its latest iteration of iPhones and other products this fall, an event many said they’d be scrutinizing for any reason to adjust their estimates.
“We don’t know what the next set of product launches are going to be and we don’t know the prices of those products coming out this fall,” said RBC analyst Amit Daryanani. “Come September, when you have the iPhone pricing, you’ll have better prediction. You could have multiple expansion on the stock.”
Morningstar Equity Research, which has a bearish $175 per share target on the stock over the next two to three years, sees the $1 trillion milestone as a reach for investors, predicting a slip down the road.
“These targets get set in investors’ minds, so there’s an element of momentum here today. Once it reaches that targets you will likely see a modest pullback,” said Morningstar Equity Research’s Abhinav Davuluri. “A lot for the raises [in price target’s across Wall Street] were a testament to the very strong results.”