Apple (AAPL) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $197.00 target price on the iPhone maker’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 10.39% from the company’s current price.

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. Moreover, Apple’s new investment plan will boost its subscription-based services business and put an end to the criticism it is facing for not creating enough jobs in the United States. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.”

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Bank of America reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $180.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Tuesday, September 26th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $175.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Tuesday, September 26th. Drexel Hamilton reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $208.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Monday, September 25th. 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. Finally, Citigroup reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $170.00 price target on shares of Apple in a research report on Friday, September 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating, thirty-eight have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $200.59.

Apple (AAPL) traded down $0.80 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $178.46. 30,827,809 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 25,680,000. Apple has a 1 year low of $119.50 and a 1 year high of $180.10. The stock has a market cap of $916,270.00, a P/E ratio of 19.42, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.23. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 1.23 and a current ratio of 1.28.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The iPhone maker reported $2.07 EPS for the quarter, beating the 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 the consensus estimate of $50.71 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.50 EPS. Apple’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.2% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts anticipate that Apple will post 11.15 EPS for the current year.

In related news, SVP Johny Srouji sold 5,760 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $174.40, for a total value of $1,004,544.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 81,560 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $14,224,064. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Daniel J. Riccio sold 15,641 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $174.78, for a total transaction of $2,733,733.98. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 13,739 shares in the company, valued at $2,401,302.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 128,412 shares of company stock worth $22,115,155. 0.08% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Blue Sky Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Apple during the 2nd quarter worth about $108,000. FNY Managed Accounts LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 852.4% during the 2nd quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC now owns 800 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $115,000 after acquiring an additional 716 shares during the period. Private Vista LLC purchased a new position in shares of Apple during the 2nd quarter worth about $122,000. Armbruster Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Apple by 9.4% during the 2nd quarter. Armbruster Capital Management Inc. now owns 911 shares of the iPhone maker’s stock worth $131,000 after acquiring an additional 78 shares during the period. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new position in shares of Apple during the 2nd quarter worth about $149,000. 60.19% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Apple

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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