Over the past two days, a couple of high-profile research analysts have issued reports predicting that Apple’s stock will reach the $1000/share milestone within the next year or two, a move that would see that company’s market capitalization push toward an unprecedented trillion-dollar market capitalization.
Yesterday, analyst Brian White issued his first research note on Apple in his new position with Topeka Capital Markets. White had previously worked at Ticonderoga Securities, which ceased operations earlier this year. In his initiation report for Topeka, White offers a 12-month price target of $1001 for Apple, citing the appeal of 4G LTE, booming growth in China, and an expected Apple television set as drivers for the company’s growth.
We are initiating coverage of Apple with a Buy rating and a 12-month price target of $1,001.00. Driven by an ever expanding portfolio of innovative products, a growing integrated digital grid, unmatched aesthetics and a brand that is able to touch the soul of consumers of all backgrounds, Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world and we see no end in sight to this trend. As such, we believe the Apple story still has a long way to play out in the coming years and we expect the next 12-18 months to be particularly exciting for the Company on multiple fronts.
White also points to Apple’s dividend and share repurchase program, with growth of that program in the future, as an additional driver for investor interest in Apple’s stock.
Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in with his own report early today, and while his official 12-month price target for Apple moves from $718 to $910, he believes that the stock will roll on to reach $1000 in 2014.
While our 12-month price target is $910, we believe shares of AAPL can reach $1,000 beyond our one year price target window, specifically in 2014 when we believe investors will begin to factor in CY15 numbers. Even conservatively applying the 12x forward year EPS multiple (CY13) that Apple is currently trading at to our CY15 estimate of $80.18, we reach a $960 share price. Furthermore, we believe factoring in an Apple Television could add more than $4 in EPS (5%) by CY15, which could yield over a $1,000 share price (12 * ~$84).
Munster estimates that half of the predicted $400 billion growth in Apple’s market cap will come at the expense of its competitors, while the other half will come from new money entering the tech sector.
Given Apple’s current share count of roughly 930 million, a $1000 price would see the company pushing toward a market capitalization of $1 trillion. As we noted last month, Microsoft set the standard for highest market capitalization for a publicly-traded company back in 1999 at $604 billion. Apple is roughly $20 billion short of that number as of today, but when adjusted for inflation, Microsoft’s peak market cap would have corresponded to over $800 billion in today’s dollars.