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Why Apple Stock Popped Today

By Evan Niu, CFA - Mar 2, 2020 at 3:02PM

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Oppenheimer upgraded the iPhone maker following last week's coronavirus-driven sell-off.

What happened

Shares of Apple (AAPL 2.45%) have popped today, up by 6% as of 3 p.m. EST, after receiving an upgrade from Wall Street. Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz boosted his rating on Apple to outperform, arguing that the stock had been "oversold" amid last week's hectic correction that was driven by fears around the coronavirus outbreak.

So what

Global markets were in utter chaos last week over concerns that the viral epidemic could cause a macroeconomic slowdown as the outbreak spreads to more countries. Apple had already warned last month that it would miss its guidance in the first quarter due to the public health crisis, which is disrupting its supply chain and iPhone production capacity.

Tim Cook standing in front of an Apple logo

Image source: Apple.

"We believe Apple products and services will prove more resilient than competitive products in uncertain times," Uerkwitz wrote in a research note to investors. "Additionally, Apple's strong balance sheet offers the company tremendous flexibility to keep the supply chain nimble as well as continuing to support its capital return plan."

Now what

The analyst believes that the coronavirus impacts will be short-term in nature and suggests that sales will likely just be delayed as opposed to lost altogether. "Given the late stage smartphone adoption and Apple's stronger resistance to competition, we expect temporary shifts of iPhone shipment between product cycles to have an immaterial impact on the stock," Uerkwitz said.

Shares had approached as low as $256 last week, or approximately 22% off recent highs. Uerkwitz recommends that investors be "buyers of weakness." Oppenheimer has a $320 price target on Apple shares.

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