Apple seems to be bucking the bears.
The stock has been trading well above Wall Street’s average price target of $197.7, settling at $207 on Tuesday after gaining more than 1%. Still, Wall Street analysts are the most bearish they have been on the stock in years, with 16 buy ratings, 14 hold ratings and 3 sell ratings, according to FactSet.
Mark Tepper, president and CEO of Strategic Wealth Partners, says this might be about to change.
“Quite frankly, the Street has been offsides on this stock. This stock is typically a consensus buy, but sentiment on the Street hasn’t been this bearish in years,” he said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “As soon as the analysts come around and they rerate this thing, you’re going to see sentiment flip and the stock’s going to pop.”
That’ll take a few concessions on the analysts’ part, specifically when it comes to Apple’s growing service revenue stream, Tepper said.
“[Apple has] executed very well on transitioning from unit sales over to services, and services are all recurring revenue and high margin, so I think the analysts are finally beginning to wake up and they’re applying different multiples to these different business lines,” he said. “And, obviously, the deal with Qualcomm ensures that Apple’s going to have that 5G phone sooner than later. So that removes a huge risk and should rerate the stock even higher, and all these things are huge tailwinds for the stock price.”
But once Wall Street tilts more heavily in favor of the iPhone maker, Tepper said investors would do well to back off.
“Once it becomes a consensus buy, that’s when all the easy money has been made and that’s the time to get out and sell,” he said. “So, right now, I like the stock. There are catalysts to take it higher and I think it’s going to continue to run.”
Fairlead Strategies founder and Managing Partner Katie Stockton also sees more runway for the consumer technology giant.
“There’s always going to be volatility, of course. But, really, over the short, intermediate and long term, Apple’s in a long-term uptrend, or an uptrend with momentum,” she said in the segment, pointing to the stock’s move above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which tends to signal strong momentum.
“We’ve seen nearly a 45% rally off of that December low, … [and] that marks outperformance versus the S&P 500,” Stockton said. “So, to me, even if the analysts are falling behind a little bit in their ratings, it actually has exhibited upside leadership and continues to have the support of positive momentum. There’s a little resistance on the chart around $215, but only a minor hurdle until we get up into the highs.”
Apple’s stock is up over 31% year to date. It was trading at $208.01 in Wednesday’s premarket. The company is expected to report earnings next week.
Disclosure: Strategic Wealth Partners has a position in Apple.