Apple upgraded to a 'buy' rating with 18% upside as UBS says 'no super cycle, no problem'


  • UBS upgraded Apple to a 'buy' on Wednesday and hit the firm with a $142 price target.
  • Analysts Vogt and Shah said an iPhone "supercycle is unlikely to materialize."
  • "No supercycle? No Problem." Auto optionality, valuation, and seasonality will buoy Apple stock.
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Apple was upgraded to a "buy" rating at UBS on Wednesday and awarded a $142 price target despite analysts calling the latest iPhone cycle "underwhelming."

The $142 price target represents a potential 18% surge in the value of its shares over the next 12 months.

UBS analysts David Vogt and Munjal Shah said in a note to clients on Wednesday investors should consider taking a bite of "the big Apple" given the drop in its share price. Apple stock is down nearly 15% from its late January highs.

The analysts said iPhone demand "should be relatively stable in-line with historic demand trends" and argued a "supercycle is unlikely to materialize," but the team wasn't fazed by the lagging iPhone sales.

The analysts even raised their fiscal year 2021 iPhone sales estimates by 5 million to 220 million, due to improved 5G demand in China. However, the 220 million figure is well below the 240 million units some analysts, including Dan Ives at Wedbush, have said they expect to see out of the big tech giant.

Still, Apple's new "auto optionality" will help to offset what will be a "normal" iPhone sales cycle, according to UBS.

Of course, there have been a number of critics of Apple's move into mobility.

The company has had issues finding a partner to help it get started in the industry, and "Project Titan," which was started in 2014 to help Apple get into the electric vehicle market, has failed to produce any substantive results.

According to the UBS team, however, the company's self-driving car licenses and LiDAR patents alone suggest "Apple's auto optionality is worth at least an incremental $14/share."

Vogt and Shah said the lack of a "supercycle" wouldn't be a problem for Apple shares due to its current valuation and favorable seasonality as well, making the stock a "buy" at current share prices.

The analysts raised their revenue and EPS estimates for Apple, citing a more stable iPhone backdrop, with better average sales prices.

UBS also increased its valuation for Apple's "core" business to $128 per share, valuing the firm based on 28x 2022's estimated earnings.

UBS analysts aren't the only ones who are bullish on the Cupertino, California-based firm either. Apple boasts 82 "buy" ratings, 15 "neutral" ratings, and just three "sell" ratings from analysts.

The tech giant's stock traded up 2.37% as of 11:06 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

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