The Apple (AAPL -2.46%) bears have been out in force going on seven weeks now. Over that time, shares have shed nearly a quarter of their value from peak to trough. Shares traded below $534 on Friday, 24% below the peak of $705. I've already said it's time to buy Apple, but I'm not alone in my optimism.
Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, who seems intent on maintaining the highest Apple price target on the Street, is out recently reiterating his target of a whopping $1,100. With shares trading in the ballpark of $550 right now, that represents a solid 100% gain from current levels if his forecast becomes a reality. Let's reiterate that: Investors can still possibly enjoy double-bagger gains on Apple.
White keeps a close watch on a handful of Apple suppliers as part of his "Apple Monitor" report. The idea is that by tracking activity among suppliers, investors can glean some hints into what's in the Mac maker's pipeline. That's analogous to tracking third-party manufacturing and component purchase commitments, which have just skyrocketed by more than $7.5 billion, or 50%, sequentially.
The analyst notes that preliminary sales out of the suppliers he tracks have just jumped 29% year over year and 9% from the prior month, well above the 2% monthly gain these companies have averaged over the past seven years. Looks like Apple's expecting quite the quarter and is ordering up ingredients for its latest concoctions.
Apple's seen pullbacks like this before. By White's count, the iPad maker has traded like this at least three times in the past 13 months. The past three pullbacks since around last September have been approximately 16%, 15%, and then 19%, in that order. This one is certainly worse than the others, but Apple's rally has been nothing short of impressive, and even the bulls need to take a break from time to time.
White also sees the current weakness as a buying opportunity, with shares trading near 8 times next year's earnings ex-cash. Apple has an incredible lineup heading into the holiday season. I'm with White on this one. Buy Apple now while you still can.