April 24 Strong sales of iPhones in China and
emerging markets sets the stage for Apple Inc to reap
even higher profits after it launches the next iPhone and other
new products, analysts said.
At least 15 brokerages raised their price targets on the
stock by as much as $60 to a high of $700 after it reported
Shares of the company were up 8.5 percent at $569.49 in
premarket trading on Thursday.
Apple's enlarged share buyback, bigger dividend, a larger
iPhone 6 and new products would all drive the stock higher, RBC
Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said in a note titled
"Buy before Tim does it himself".
On Wednesday, Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones
in the quarter ended March 29, far outpacing the 38 million that
Wall Street had predicted. Revenue from greater China climbed 13
percent and Japan sales rose 26 percent.
Apple approved another $30 billion in share buybacks till
the end of 2015 and authorized a rarely seen seven-for-one stock
split, addressing calls to share more of its cash hoard while
broadening the stock's appeal to individual investors.
Many Apple observers are betting on another successful
product emerging from its secretive labs in Cupertino,
California in the second half of this year - perhaps an iWatch
for users to wear on their wrist. Chief Executive Tim Cook has
promised new product categories for 2014.
"We believe the iPhone 6 will prove to be a big hit in
China and elsewhere around the world, while the iWatch opens up
a new product category for Apple, and we believe the ramp with
China Mobile will accelerate in the second half of the year,"
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said in a note.
(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Rodney Joyce)