Just weeks since issuing a high-profile stock downgrade which caused some uneasiness among Apple investors, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu yesterday upgraded Apple to ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’.
The analyst says he chose to upgrade the stock in order to, “align our rating with our longer term view on fundamentals.” The analyst also introduced a new (higher) $210 target price on Apple stock.
Wu wasn’t the only one. Following a meeting with Apple management, RBC Capital Markets' Mike Abramsky raised his price target on Apple to $220 from $200, while maintaining an "outperform" rating on the stock.
“We see upside potential to iPhone estimates following changes, in our opinion, Apple may make to its iPhone business model, expected to accelerate momentum and expand its global addressable market," he told investors.
Abramsky expects a 3G iPhone will ship through an extended list of carriers in June. He anticipates cut and paste, Flash support and GPS features will appear in the next-generation device and predicts Apple will sell 14 million handsets this year on strength of the new model and its extended availability.
Wu, meanwhile, admitted that his previous downgrade on Apple stock was based on an “overestimate”, accepting, “in hindsight (we) should have moderated our near-term posture rather than downgrading.”
“Technology evolution is enabling a fundamental change in the consumption and distribution of media. Digitization of content, Internet connectivity and portability has been the key driver of these changes. Apple is a major participant and is in many ways a catalyst - this is obvious in the music industry as iTunes recently became the largest US music retailer,” Wu wrote.
The analyst predicts Apple will extend the remit of its products to meet changing media consumption trends, anticipating new iPhones, Macs and other devices will appear from Apple.
”We believe that computers will become the media terminal for a large portion of homes over the next decade. This will fuel many years of share gain for Mac,” he wrote.