RBC Capital Raises Apple’s Stock Price Target
On Tuesday, RBC Capital raised Apple Inc.'s (AAPL, +0.08%) stock price target from $140 to $142. This is 12 percent above the closing price on Monday. According to RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani, the gross margins and the sales of the tech giant could beat expectations. Adding to this, Daryanani reiterated his rating of outperform and he also raised his fiscal second-quarter earnings-per-share estimate from $2.03 to $2.14. RBC Capital also raised their revenue estimate from $54.2 billion to $55.4 billion and this was based on research which showed that the demand for the iPhone has remained strong in the current quarter, ending March. Daryanani also believes that Apple’s margin profile will improve as the company looks to offset currency headwinds. This will probably be achieved by making changes to supply chain contracts. Margins are also likely to be boosted next quarter as a result of improved product pricing and mix, yield improvements as well as the sales of the latest Apple Watch. The Apple stock is also a component of the blue chip index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), and in pre-market trade on Tuesday, the price eased 0.3 percent to trade at $124, 43. Year to date, Apple stocks have climbed 14% while the Dow has gained 0.9 percent.
Trading in the U.S. on Tuesday left the Dow industrials in the red for the year’s 1st-quarter. According to analysts, the losses and the session drop came as a result of expectations for disappointing first-quarter earnings. As a result, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) declined 0.9%, or 46.56 points, at 4,900.88. For the quarter, this tech-heavy index scored a 3.5 percent advance. Another interesting fact is that the Nasdaq has now climbed for 9 quarters in a row making this its longest quarterly winning streak in the index’s history. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index (SPX) dropped 0.9%, or 18.35 points, at 2,067.89. Despite this decline, the benchmark index still managed to achieve a quarterly gain of 0.4 percent which extended its winning streak also to 9 quarters. Following the trend was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which closed down 1.1 percent, or 200.19 points, at 17,776.12. The blue chip index lost 46.95 points, or 0.3%, for the quarter. As a result, the index’s three-quarter winning streak was snapped.
The U.S. dollar (USD) continued to trade broadly higher on Tuesday. This came after data showed that consumer confidence in the U.S. this month had re-approached the highest level since 2007. As a result, this added to expectations for a rate hike in the country within the coming months. According to the report by the Conference Board, its index of consumer confidence rose from a reading of 98.8 in February to 101.3 in March. This beat analysts’ expectations for a decline to 96.0 in March. In a separate report, Kingsbury International, the market research group, said that its Chicago PMI (purchasing managers’ index) improved by 0.5 points from a reading of 45.8 in February to 46.3 in March. Investors have now turned their attention to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due out on Friday to get an indication on the path of monetary policy. In forex trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.0734, down 0.87%. This decline came as Greece failed to reach an agreement on a program of economic reforms with its lenders on Monday. Against the British pound and the yen, the USD traded lower with GBP/USD up 0.11% to 1.4822 and with USD/JPY down 0.14% to 119.94. Also, against the Swiss franc and the Australian dollar, the U.S. dollar was higher with USD/CHF up 0.48% to 0.9715 and with AUD/USD dropping 0.52% to 0.7615. The U.S. dollar index was up 0.33% to 98.63.
In Asian trading on Wednesday, crude oil prices declined. This drop came despite the fact the industry data out of the U.S. on oil inventories showed solid draw downs in refined products while a better than expected manufacturing survey from HSBC (LONDON:HSBA) on China was released. According to the American Petroleum Institute, crude oil stocks rose by 5.2 million barrels last week while supplies of distillate fell 18,000 barrels and gasoline inventories dropped 4.1 million barrels. Reversing earlier gains, WTI crude for delivery in May traded at $47.37 a barrel, down 0.49% on the NYMEX. Meanwhile on Tuesday, Brent crude for delivery in May traded at $55.04 a barrel, down 2.26% on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Over the last 3 days, crude oil futures have declined by more than 7 percent.