Apple's shares rally again as analysts weigh in on the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Apple's shares hit a nine month high on Monday, closing at $111.77. The gain of 3.54% takes Apple well off the low of $91.50 it hit on June 27th. The stock dropped under $100 back in April after reporting its fiscal Q2 earnings. In that three-month period, Apple sold fewer iPhone units in a quarter on a year-over-year basis for the first time in history. That happened again during the July quarter, but that time the shares gapped open at $102 and have been rising ever since.
With Apple about to launch the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on Friday, Wall Street analysts have been bullish on the pair. Ben Schachter, senior analyst at Macquarie Group, told the audience watching CNBC's Power Lunch that Apple might be able to squeeze out a little growth this year with its handsets, and achieve strong results next year with the 10th anniversary iPhone model.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk says that strong iPhone pre-orders reported by AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are the first indication that Apple will surprise the Street by pulling off strong growth in the December quarter. Part of the reason for the unexpected growth is the larger pool of potential iPhone buyers. According to Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, the number of iPhone users is about 50% higher than it was a couple of years ago. That means that there is a large number of iPhone owners who would be interested in upgrading to the new models.
Sacconaghi said that figuring out how many current iPhone owners will upgrade is the key to forecasting how well Apple will do with the new handsets. Five years ago, only a quarter of iPhone sales came from upgrades. Now, 80% of iPhone sales come from upgrades. And making things harder is Apple's decision not to release pre-order figures. The tech titan says that pre-order figures are not indicative of anything since the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will have its initial sales determined by supply, not demand,