Apple Stock Gets Another Price-Target Hike as Earnings Near

Apple will report earnings next Tuesday

Jul 23, 2018 at 9:47 AM
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trading lower this morning, last seen at $190.15, despite a price-target hike out of BMO Capital. The brokerage firm lifted its target to $184 from $171, saying a large buyback should help the stock price. Not only is this price target below AAPL's current perch, but it's well below the average 12-month price target seen from other Apple analysts, which stands up at $202.44.

Overall, analysts' outlooks have been mixed on the blue chip. In fact, half of the analysts in coverage still have just "hold" ratings on AAPL. More recently, though, the attention has mostly been more upbeat, with Loop Capital earlier this month boosted its price target to $210 on expected strength from the company's services business.

On the charts, the stock is up more than 13% on a year-to-date basis, and since the early May bull gap the $185 area has acted as a floor, as has the 50-day moving average. In light of the recent positive technical momentum, a number of short sellers have been throwing in the towel, with the number of AAPL shares sold short declining from more than 67 million back in mid-March to just about 38 million now.

Looking ahead, the iPhone producer will report earnings next Tuesday, July 31. Options activity has so far been bullish ahead of the event, with call buying more than doubling put buying during the past 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). However, this isn't unusual, since the 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.02 sits in the middling 55th annual percentile.

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