Call Options Could Contain Apple Stock Earnings Rally

Apple's quarterly earnings and revenue beat estimates

Aug 1, 2018 at 9:29 AM
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It's set to be a record day for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, which is up 4.1% in electronic trading -- on track to open at its highest point to date. This follows last night's earnings report from the iPhone maker and an onslaught of bullish brokerage attention. As such, AAPL could take aim at the elusive $1 trillion market cap.

In the fiscal third quarter, Apple reported profit of $2.34 per share on $53.3 billion in revenue -- more than analysts were expecting. The tech titan also said the average iPhone price rose to $724 -- higher than the consensus estimate of $694 -- services revenue arrived at a record-high $9.55 billion, and noted "none of its products were directly affected" by recent Chinese tariffs.

In reaction, no fewer than seven analysts raised their Apple price targets, including Independent Research to $226 from $220 -- a nearly 19% premium to last night's close at $190.29. What's more, Morgan Stanley said it sees little downside risk relative to upside potential, and projected increasing services and wearables revenue to offset slowing device sales.

Analysts had already been growing more bullish on Apple heading into last night's earnings report -- however, there's plenty of room for upgrades and/or more price-target hikes to come down the pike. Currently 13 of 25 analysts covering AAPL stock maintain a lukewarm "hold" rating, while the average 12-month price target of $210.64 stands at a roughly 10% premium to current trading levels.

Looking at the charts, Apple stock has been surging, up almost 28% year-over-year. More recently, the stock topped out at a record high of $195.96 last Thursday, July 26, but has since pulled back to test support at its rising 40-day moving average. Traders should keep an eye on the round $200 level today. This strike is home to heavy call open interest of nearly 27,700 contracts in the 8/3 series, and could create a short-term hurdle for the FAANG name.


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