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Apple’s iPhone 12 sales exceed Wedbush’s ‘bull case scenario,’ expected to boost stock

Sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 12 have exceeded Wedbush’s “bull case scenario” for fiscal 2021, based on Asia supply chain checks, and should boost shares with December results coming shortly, analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note Thursday. “We believe Apple saw a robust Christmas/holiday season not just on iPhones, but also had a strong AirPods performance that will be another product tailwind heading into 2021 for Cook & Co,” Ives wrote. Asia checks suggest the supply chain is expecting low to mid 90 million iPhone unit builds for the quarter, comfortably ahead of the 80 million to mid 80s range expected in mid December, 75 million expected in late October and 65 million to 70 million range expected three months ago, he wrote. “This is roughly a 35% increase from our original and Street forecasts. For the March quarter we believe builds for total iPhones ticked up again another 5% over the last week and are now in the 60 million to 70 million range. For the June quarter we believe initial builds are in the low 40 million range with potentially an upward bias. We have not seen a launch uptrend such as this in a number of years for Apple and the only iPhone trajectory similar would be the iPhone 6 in 2014 based on our analysis,” said Ives. The Wall Street consensus is for 217 million iPhone unit sales in fiscal 2021, but Wedbush sees potential for up to 240 million units, “which would easily eclipse the previous Apple record of 231 million units sold in FY15. Importantly, with our estimation that 350 million of 950 million iPhones worldwide are currently in the window of an upgrade opportunity, we believe this will translate into an unprecedented upgrade cycle for Cook & Co.,” said Ives. Wedbush rates Apple as outperform with a $160 12-month price target and a bull case target of $200. Apple shares were up 0.5% premarket and have gained 82% in 2020, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.24% has gained 6.6% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.13% has gained 15.5%.

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