“We believe the risk reward to owning shares of AAPL is favorable given the back half of the year will likely have several product announcements that should reaccelerate earnings growth from a negative 14 percent in the first half of 2013 to a positive 15 percent in the back half,” wrote Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on Tuesday.
The sentiment is right in line with commentary from other Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) analysts who are expecting a relatively weak second quarter for the company. Munster continues, “While we believe that current Street numbers are too high for March and June, we view the risk around the quarter and guide as small as the March report and June guide will likely mark the turning point as investors look to the back half opportunity with new product launches. We reiterate our Overweight and $767 price target.”
That price target represents a 65.6 percent upside on the stock’s closing price on Monday, and is well above the average analyst estimate of $618.72, which is a 33.5 percent upside on the same closing price. Munster is pretty notorious for being an Apple bull, but his sales estimates are surprisingly modest for his price target…
“We continue to expect $41.4 billion in Q2 rev compared to the Street at $42.8 billion and guidance for $41-43 billion. We are looking for 35.5 million iPhones in March, which we believe is in line with buy side expectations. We believe the Street revenue numbers imply iPhones closer to 37 million and Macs closer to 4.2 million vs. our 3.8 million,” he wrote.
This relatively soft second-quarter performance would be compensated for in the second half of the year, as he illustrated earlier.
And of course, what Apple commentary would be complete without some speculation about a dividend hike? “Finally, we expect a modest increase in the annual dividend from $10.60 to ~$14 (based on using cash generated in US). We do not expect an increase in the buyback,” Munster wrote.