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Goldman Boosts AAPL Price Target To $145, Tells Clients To Buy (All It Has For Sale)

Remember: any time Goldman tells you to do something, do what it does, not what it tells you (thank you Tom Stolper for teaching us that lesson) and as the case may be, Goldman's prop, pardon, flow (because those are illegal under Volcker wink wink) traders have some AAPL shares to sell to you.

From Goldman:

Risk-reward more balanced, but upside persists

 

What's changed

 

We are updating our Apple scenario analysis and tactical map for 2015. The stock has appreciated by 20% versus a 6% increase in the S&P 500 since we published our last scenario analysis on December 16, and recent data points have changed our key assumptions since that report. Indeed, 4QCY15 iPhone units posted 12% upside to our prior bull case unit scenario, EPS exceeded by 8%, and operating cash flow exceeded by 31%. In addition, Tim Cook’s presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference has increased our confidence in Apple’s platform momentum (particularly on Apple Pay), the potential for the Apple Watch, and the prospects for sustained iPhone growth.

 

Implications

 

All of these factors and a powerful near-term catalyst set (April watch launch and capital allocation update as well as likely upside for the March quarter) lead us to increase our estimates and price target. Our scenario analysis reflects our increasingly bullish outlook, though the risk-reward has become somewhat less favorable. Given the current catalyst set and valuation, we still expect the stock to outperform; nevertheless, we could become more cautious on the stock if 1) our base case assumptions prove too aggressive; 2) the stock price reaches our new target price; or 3) we believe investor expectations have exceeded our base case. Our EPS estimates for FY15/16/17 move to $8.77/$10.45/$11.56 from $8.51/$9.87/$10.84.

 

Valuation

 

We increase our 12-month target price to $145 from $130 previously which is based on a 16X (up from 15X reflecting our increased confidence in Apple’s outlook) multiple applied to our CY2015 EPS estimate of $9.03 ($8.64 previously).