Thanks to a quasi-upgrade from the folks over at JMP Securities, Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED ) shareholders were jumping for joy Monday as their stock popped nearly 7%.
As fellow Fool Anders Bylund astutely pointed out, the firm didn't really provide any particularly new information, but instead reiterated its outperform rating and $50-per-share price target on the stock following a predisclosed meeting with Universal Display management.
In short, Universal Display's management left JMP with the continued impression the company will not only meet or exceed its fourth-quarter guidance, but also stands to benefit from three key growth drivers in 2014, including the extension of Samsung's OLED tech into new smartphones, LG Display (NYSE: LPL ) 's entry into the OLED market, and the launch of an OLED-based smart watch from none other than Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) .
Nothing we didn't already know?
I've already gone out on a limb to rebuke recent rumors that Samsung could be ditching Universal Display's flagship OLED technology. What's more, I've taken plenty of notes as LG Display's not-so-quiet expansion into the OLED industry continues to unfold.
Now, however, you can bet the Apple news is what has investors so riled up. Why? Because while Universal Display already counts both LG Display and Samsung among its paying customers, a win with Apple simply hasn't been made official yet.
In fact, up until this point, inquisitive investors have relied primarily on supply chain speculation and anonymous sources describing an impending deal for LG Display to produce small, flexible OLED screens for the Cupertino-based tech giant -- presumably for an iWatch device to be launched in late 2014.
Of course, there was also that interesting comment from Universal Display CEO Steve Abramson back in May, when he curiously felt the need to point out Apple had recently filed a patent for a new flexible AMOLED wrist-worn display. What's more, another more recent patent application shows Apple has been hard at work correcting the color issues for which Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized OLED earlier this year.
Here's the kicker
But by my count, this stands as the first analyst note that has specifically called out Universal Display's relationship with Apple outside of any completely speculative context -- and immediately following a meeting with Universal Display management, at that.
Call me crazy, but something tells me JMP wouldn't climb out on such a precarious perch unless it felt especially confident its assertions would come to fruition, and it seems reasonable to assume Universal Display management provided that confidence.
Time will tell whether we'll all be proven correct. But as the picture becomes clearer by the day, I remain as confident as ever asserting that Universal Display's technology will ultimately find its way into Apple's massively popular devices.
So hold on, Universal Display investors, because the best is yet to come.
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