Analysts Awestruck at Apple Earnings

Analysts have been almost universally awestruck in light of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Fourth Quarter earning results, which absolutely blew away what were already very lofty expectations.  Against general Wall Street estimates in the range of $38.85 billion in revenue, Apple actually posted sales of $46.33 billion,with earnings per stock of $13.87 versus projections of $10,08.  Based on the news, Apple’s stock this morning is trading at 7% above yesterday, which will once again makes it the biggest publicly traded company in the United States.  As a result, price targets for the stock have reached astronomical highs.

Ticonderoga Securities right now has among the highest price projections at $666 over twelve months.  Brian White of Ticonderoga feels that the recent numbers, which came largely as a result of iPhone 4S sales, “speaks to the momentum at Apple that we believe has further room to run…” White states that Ticonderoga will “remain aggressive buyers of Apple as we believe the market continues to severely underestimate the long-term, sustainable earnings power of the company and potential for a gusher of a cash dividend in the future…”

Canaccord Genuity and FBN posted slightly more modest expectations of $650 – an increase from $560 and $515 respectively – under the belief that Apple will soon implement a dividend.  Apple is currently sitting on cash reserves of $97 million.  CG analyst Michael Walkley projects that when Apple’s cash moves past $100 billion, which it should in March, that it will trigger a dividend.

Analysts from FBN also cited that the company’s continued technologically innovative products, which may include in 2012 a new iPad, iPhone, and possible iTV, will only increase cash reserves and further build on their already significant market share.  Goldman Sachs also shared that appraisal for the raised target of $600 from $550.

Citigroup also raised its expectations to $600 (from $500) based on the belief that the company may implement a very lucrative buyback.  Pacific Crest raised its expectation to $580 from the comparatively low starting $470, but the most modest increase was from Sterne Agee, who only raised to $550 from $540.  Both Pacific Crest and Stern Agee both looked forward to new iPhone and iPad releases, but especially noted that the Apple had shown the ability to withstand competitors, namely Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire tablet, and cement market share.

The highest price projections at the moment is Hudson Square Research, whose expectation in currently at an astounding $700.