Saturday, August 11, 2012

Apple Price Target: $950 Per Share

Today I am updating my 12-month Apple price target to $950 per share. This price target represents an expected share price appreciation of 52.8% from Apple's closing price of $621.70 on August 10th, 2012. I expect share price appreciation, on average, to trail behind the rate of earnings per share growth over the next 12 months as Apple's massive market cap influences the share price performance and as the company's price-earnings multiple continues to contract.

Over the next twelve months I anticipate reported revenue growth of roughly 50%, corresponding earnings per share growth of about 60% and the aforementioned 52.8% rise in the share price value. I anticipate 12 months from today a price-earnings multiple of 14 times trailing 12-month earnings, suggesting a slight compression in the multiple from today's valuation of 14.61 times trailing 12-month earnings of $42.55 per share. For the four fiscal quarters ending June 29, 2013, I expect trailing 12-month earnings of about $68 per share. 

Apple's P/E Multiple and Cash Per Share
The graph below illustrates Apple's rising cash per share and falling price-earnings multiple over a 10-fiscal quarter period. The dates selected for all of the graphs in today's article are the first trading day of the month following the release of the company's quarterly results. The dates were selected to provide a uniform reference and to eliminate the impact of rising earnings multiples immediately preceding the release of quarterly results. 
No matter the rising cash per share, Apple's price-earnings multiple has been on a steady and indisputable decline over this 10-quarter period. I expect this trend to continue over the next 12 months. 

Apple will continue to trade at a modest multiple to earnings relative to the company's rates of revenue and earnings growth. All of the wishful thinking in the world and spirited comparisons of Apple's valuation to other large enterprises with more lofty earnings multiples will not change the outcome. 

As of Friday's closing price, Apple's market cap stands at nearly $583 billion. I expect over the next twelve months for the market cap to reach $900 billion. Already Apple's market cap is greater than the combined market caps of IBM, Microsoft, HPQ and Dell with about $40 billion in market cap to spare. Apple is among the most widely held equities on the planet and the company's massive market cap will influence the share price valuation no matter the modest price-earnings multiple relative to current rates of growth.