It's not a surprise to see that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest smartphone is a hit with the masses. Apple announced that it sold 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, shattering earlier debut weekend records. Forget hotcakes. The next time that something's selling briskly let's just say it's selling like iPhones.
Several analysts have chimed in with encouraging notes on the heels of Apple's strong retail showing, and one Wall Street pro in particular thinks that the stock is headed to $130.
Global Equities Research is boosting its price target on Apple stock from $115 to $130 in the next 12-18 months. Analyst Trip Chowdhry is boosting his estimates, targeting an operating profit of $59.2 million for the new fiscal year that begins next week, followed by $64 billion in fiscal 2016. His goal of $130 would value the company at 11 times fiscal 2015's operating income based on Apple's enterprise value.
There are plenty of moving parts to Apple's success, and the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, and upcoming Apple Watch suggest that innovation has returned to Cupertino, California. It's an important admission for Chowdhry to make. He was the one who lit up Apple watchers two years ago in arguing that innovation was dead at Apple after it released the iPad mini.
He may have eventually been right about Apple's tablet line. The iPad has suffered declining year-over-year sales in recent quarters. However, the iPhone continues to be the tastemaker among smartphones and some of the weakness in tablets is actually benefiting Apple's original Macs line.
Either way, Chowdhry is no longer skeptical. He sees that every new Apple gadget or existing product update raises the bar, taking the Apple ecosystem along for the ride. Naturally, he is particularly intrigued by this month's announcements.
An iPhone in every pot
The perfect storm of new relationships and rival retreats opens the door for Apple to retain its shine as a market darling. It wasn't able to sustain the bullish sentiment when it had previously hit all-time highs in 2012. It was followed by a rocky 2013 where margins contracted, net income declined, and it seemed as if everything was riding on the iPhone.
Chowdhry wasn't the only one raising concerns at the time, and the sharp correction in Apple's stock following its late 2012 highs bear that out. Apple lost momentum as a company, and the skidding stock priced that into the equation. Things should be different this time, it is comforting to see Chowdhry in bullish form this time around with Apple setting new all-time highs earlier this month.
Apple isn't as cheap as it used to be. The stock has been climbing faster than Wall Street's profit targets, but it doesn't mean that the shares are expensive. The stock is now trading for 16 times this fiscal year's earnings per share estimate and 14 times forward forecasts. If we're back to the same Apple that used to routinely blast through Wall Street projections the valuations may be even more compelling once reality plays itself out.
There are a lot of things to look forward to in Apple's next few quarterly presentations, and that's also something that wasn't the case when investors were braced for the worst through fiscal 2013. We have the strong likelihood of average selling prices spiking higher with the iPhone 6 Plus hitting the market at a premium to earlier Apple smartphones, and the success of the Apple Watch in a few months remains a promising wild card.
Apple isn't going to get to $130 overnight, but there are enough catalysts in place to give Apple a good chance to earn its way up there this time around.
Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.