Saturday, November 29, 2014

FY2015: Apple's Big Adventure

On Friday, November 28th, Apple’s share price closed the month’s trading at $118.93, up 9.9% from the opening price on November 3rd and up nearly 10.5% from the opening price on September 29th, the first trading day of the fiscal year. 

Recent analyst revenue upgrades and price target revisions have provided support for the share price. The current Wall Street consensus revenue estimate for the December quarter is $66.23 billion compared to management’s revenue guidance for the quarter of between $63.5 billion and $66.5 billion. However, the current revenue consensus estimate for FY2015 remains a decidedly conservative $210.68 billion and for FY2016 the revenue consensus estimate is a surprisingly low $223.02 billion.

In contrast, my revenue models suggest Apple may reach one-quarter trillion dollars in revenue in FY2016 following a revenue performance this fiscal year of $225 billion.

On November 19th Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty raised her firm’s price target from $115 to $126. She stated investors underestimate demand for the Apple Watch and is forecasting 30 million Apple Watches will be sold in CY2015. She also believes institutions remain underweighted in Apple shares. In my view, increasing institutional demand for shares will buoy the share price during the first six months of the current fiscal year.

On November 25th Aaron Rakers at Stifel Nicolaus raised his Apple price target to $130 from $115. On the same day Brian Blair reiterated his firm’s view iPhone unit sales will range between 72 million and 75 million in the December quarter. Although the share price may not go higher in a straight line, I expect a continuing series of analyst estimate revisions over the next several weeks to support the share price into Apple’s December quarter earnings release in late January. 

Looking Back
Although unit sales expectations for Apple’s iPhone 6 handsets are moving higher with strong evidence of a big market share shift in the high-end smartphone market from competitors to Apple, most analysts remain cautious on their FY2015 revenue and earnings per share estimates. 

The graph below illustrates Apple’s revenue mix for the fiscal year ended in September. In the 12-month period, the iPhone represented just over 55% of reported revenue. Combined, the iPhone and iPad lines represented over 72% of revenue in the period.