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Why Investors Are Happy With Apple Stock Today

By Rich Smith – Dec 1, 2021 at 8:22AM

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UBS reassures that all's well with Apple's iPhone numbers this year.

What happened

Shares of Apple (AAPL 1.56%) stock jumped 2.4% as of noon ET on Wednesday after investment bank UBS confirmed findings first reported in Nikkei Asia last week -- reports that Apple's "iPhone first" strategy is working.

So what

As Nikkei reported, in the face of production snarls in China caused in part by "COVID-related lockdowns in Vietnam and Malaysia and power restrictions in China," Apple has been prioritizing production and shipment of the iPhone 13 to ensure that shoppers can buy all the iPhones they want in time for the holidays -- even if that means there might be delays in shipping out iPads.

Today, UBS confirmed this strategy is working, and that it's seeing "modest improvement in availability on a week-to-week basis" for both iPhone 13 Pro and Max models. "We believe the decline in wait times coincides with improvement in the supply chain," wrote UBS in a note covered by And "several suppliers [are] noting December production should be better than November which was better than October."

A person pointing at a red apple and smiling.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Now, the news isn't all good. In the face of consensus expectations that Apple will be able to ship as many as 82 million iPhones in time for Christmas, and 235 million next year, UBS estimates the numbers will actually be lower -- 80 million units and 235 million units, respectively. Still, UBS's estimates set what may be a lower limit on precisely how badly the pandemic will eat into Apple's sales and profits in the fourth quarter of this year, and all of next year.

For now, just the reassurance from the analyst that things won't get worse than UBS says they'll be -- and the prospect of continued improvement in production and deliveries as supply chains unsnarl -- seems to be enough to get investors excited about Apple stock again.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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