Apple shares to rise 20% on valuable ecosystem and new products, Needham says: Upgrade to strong buy

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Apple was upgraded to strong buy from buy at Needham on Thursday, as the firm primarily sees Apple’s ecosystem as having “value upside.”

“We anticipate better than previously expected results from both Services and Wearables, Home and Accessories, as well as valuation upside created by falling churn and strong barriers to entry” for competitors, Needham analyst Laura Martin said in a note to investors.

Apple shares rose 0.7 percent in premarket trading. Needham also raised its price target on Apple to $225 from $180, a 20 percent increase from Wednesday’s close of $188.16 a share.

Needham believes the company’s new range of products will help drive the stock higher. Apple is expected to unveil a new streaming TV service at an event on March 25. As the owners of iPhones and iPads will, at least initially, have access to free original shows, Needham estimates Apple’s streaming service will “drive higher lifetime value” for 900 million users of Apple’s products, Martin said.

“Our 1Q19 proprietary survey tells us that, whether or not Wall Street believes AAPL is an ecosystem company, its users do,” Martin said.

The technology giant unveiled new iPad Air, iPad Mini and AirPods products just this week. Additionally, reports suggest Apple will also soon unveil its long-awaited AirPower wireless charging pad.

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