Apple removed from JPMorgan focus list in latest sign of caution
Apple was removed from JPMorgan’s Analyst Focus List, with the firm seeing limited near-term upside going into the release of the iPhone maker’s quarterly results.
Based on its most recent close, Apple shares have climbed nearly 31% over the past three months, easily exceeding the nearly 18% gain of the S&P 500 information technology index, and returning more than twice the roughly 12% rise of the S&P 500. The stock rose 1.1% before the bell on Monday.
At current valuations, “investors looking for further upside have to focus on the longer-term earnings trajectory rather than expect near-term upside,” wrote analyst Samik Chatterjee, who added that the tailwinds of 5G growth and “the likelihood of an earnings beat” in the upcoming results already appear priced into the stock.
JPMorgan has an overweight rating on Apple shares, and despite removing the company from the focus list, raised its price target to $425 from $365. The firm still sees “ample upside to the shares, but largely on willingness to look to the out-year,” a “time horizon that a majority of investors we have discussions with are willing to participate in the shares for.”
Apple is scheduled to report third-quarter results after the market closes on July 30. JPMorgan is not the only firm to strike a relatively cautious note ahead of the report.
Also on Monday, Cowen warned that visibility was “still opaque,” and said forecasting demand “remains difficult given the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on consumption, Apple Store closures in different regions, [and] possible delayed consumer purchases in anticipation of an upcoming 5G iPhone.” The firm has an outperform rating on the shares, and wrote that owning the stock at current levels “is not about the quarterly results/outlook into this call,” but instead about its long-term prospects.
Last week, Wolfe Research started coverage on Apple with an underperform rating. Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank said it was “surprised at both the speed and magnitude of the rebound” in Apple shares, adding that the move “has us nervous.”