Apple (AAPL) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $190.00 target price on the iPhone maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Apple shares have vastly outperformed the S&P 500, in the past one year. The company is benefiting from steady iPhone sales, spurt in Services segment and a resurgence in Mac and iPad sales. The company is anticipated to benefit from the strong demand of iPhone X in mature markets, which will help it to sustain momentum in the near term. Going ahead, we believe foray into fast-growing technologies like autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence (AI) & AR/VR are long-term drivers. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, the new iPhone X at $999 is quite pricey, particularly for cost sensitive markets like India. Intensifying competition from cheaper Chinese handset-makers remains a concern.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. UBS Group reissued a buy rating and set a $180.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. Nomura set a $185.00 price target on shares of Apple and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, September 25th. KeyCorp raised shares of Apple from a sector weight rating to an overweight rating and lifted their price target for the company from $173.75 to $187.00 in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price target on shares of Apple from $180.00 to $182.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. Finally, Maxim Group reissued a buy rating and set a $182.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Friday, September 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, forty-three have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $198.70.

Apple (NASDAQ AAPL) traded up $0.80 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $173.03. 22,430,000 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 26,590,000. Apple has a 12-month low of $115.75 and a 12-month high of $177.20. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 1.23 and a current ratio of 1.28. The stock has a market cap of $888,390.00, a PE ratio of 18.83, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.23.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The iPhone maker reported $2.07 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.87 by $0.20. Apple had a net margin of 21.09% and a return on equity of 36.29%. The firm had revenue of $52.58 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $50.71 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.50 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.2% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Apple will post 11.18 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider Eduardo H. Cue sold 65,361 shares of Apple stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $171.60, for a total value of $11,215,947.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Daniel J. Riccio sold 15,641 shares of Apple stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $172.35, for a total transaction of $2,695,726.35. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 39,682 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,839,192.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 112,771 shares of company stock valued at $19,381,421 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.08% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Arthur M. Cohen & Associates LLC purchased a new position in Apple during the first quarter valued at approximately $11,184,000. Stone House Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in Apple during the first quarter valued at approximately $225,000. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership lifted its holdings in Apple by 20.7% during the first quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 507,053 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $72,843,000 after purchasing an additional 86,925 shares in the last quarter. Alley Co LLC lifted its holdings in Apple by 5.5% during the first quarter. Alley Co LLC now owns 38,849 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $5,581,000 after purchasing an additional 2,015 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Barber Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Apple by 2.2% during the first quarter. Barber Financial Group Inc. now owns 12,795 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock valued at $1,838,000 after purchasing an additional 280 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 59.61% of the company’s stock.

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Apple Company Profile

Apple Inc (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings.

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