Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Well, it was bound to happen eventually.
After a parade of ever-higher price targets for America’s beloved gadget maker, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets launched coverage of Apple this morning with a four-digit price target: $1,001.00. All of which raises the question again: Has Apple fever gotten ahead of itself?
As it turns out, “Apple fever,” fed in part by the company’s prospects in China, is precisely the notion that White, formerly of Ticonderoga Securities, uses to justify his bullish claim.
White writes in breathless tones this morning that Apple’s “unmatched aesthetics” and a brand that “is able to touch the soul of consumers of all backgrounds” means that “Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world.” Oh yes, and lest you raise a skeptical eyebrow, he adds: “We see no end in sight to this trend” (emphasis ours).
Yes, there’s a valuation argument to be made here, with White pegging Apple’s price-to-forward earnings (ex-cash) at under 10 times. And yes, the dividend and buyback Apple launched last month is going to draw in a whole wave of new investors.
But White isn’t vaulting over all the other analysts by calling Apple a value play. No sir, he’s got a few other fresh new markets to be Apple-feverish about.
*The Internet: Apple is going to own the mobile Internet, thanks to its big splashy move to 4G
*China China China: If you think the mobile Internet is going to be fantastic, wait till you see the mobile Internet in China, where 1.4 billion people fiddling with mobile devices will make it “a wonder of the tech world.” Well, Apple is there too and “well positioned to capitalize on this trend.”
* Your living room: Yes, Apple will own your living room too. How? With “full blown TV,” Mr. White says. More details to come.
So, Wall Street analysts, what do you say? Do I have any higher bids on Apple $1,000?
– Jonathan Cheng