October 29, 2020

5G iPhones and work-from-home trends can drive share price


Members of the media take photographs of iPhone 11, iPhone11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max smartphones in the Apple Marunouchi store on September 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Apple’s potential plans to release a line-up of 5G-supported phones as well as remote work and online learning trends globally are likely drive its stock price higher, according to an analyst. 

The iPhone-maker recently became the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a $2 trillion market cap, about two years after reaching the $1 trillion milestone. Apple shares rose 1.2% on Monday. 

“The remarkable thing in my opinion is that Apple achieved the $2 trillion market cap without selling a single 5G iPhone,” Tom Forte, managing director and senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson, said Tuesday morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.” 

“To the extent that the 5G iPhone results in multiple years of positive growth for smartphones, Apple shares can continue to do well,” he added. 

5G refers to the fifth generation of high-speed mobile internet that aims to provide faster data speeds and more bandwidth to carry growing levels of web traffic.

Apple is currently the third-largest smartphone maker by shipment behind Huawei and Samsung. A report from the Nikkei Asian Review said the U.S. tech giant is slated to release four models in its 5G lineup with three different screen sizes. The report also said Apple is facing delays of between four weeks and two months for mass production.

Remote work and online learning

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are now working remotely and have taken to online learning.

Forte cited calculations by Logitech, which said last month that an estimated one billion people were now working from home. 

“So, on that basis what you’ve seen is strength in tablets, strength in laptops, for Apple, in addition to strong iPhone sales. To the extent that consumers continue to work remotely and learn remotely, I think we will see more strength in tablets and laptops,” Forte added. 

In July, Apple reported a historically strong third quarter with double-digit growth in its products and services segments. Despite widespread retail closures during the quarter due to the pandemic, Apple said its overall operations were boosted by work-from-home trends and online sales.  

Forte said Apple’s exposure to China, where iPhone sales saw a sharp jump in the June quarter, could be a “significant risk” amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing.  

Stock split and price targets

The company also announced a 4-for-1 stock split where for each share of Apple stock that an investor owns, they will receive three additional shares. That makes single shares in Apple more affordable for investors to buy. 

Forte said there is a chance that shares will continue to climb as a result of the split. D. A. Davidson had previously raised their price target from $355 a share to $480. Apple currently trades above $500 and Forte said the firm’s price target is now under review. 

Morgan Stanley in a separate note on Sunday raised its price target for Apple shares from $431 to $520. The investment bank said it expects sustained services growth and the 5G iPhone cycle to drive double-digit revenue growth in fiscal 2021 in its base case assumptions. 



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