From a note to clients by analyst Daniel Ives that landed on my desktop Wednesday evening:
We believe during 2021 Apple has strong potential to be the first $2 trillion valuation given the 5G tailwinds and services momentum potential over the coming years. In particular, we are seeing a continued demand snapback in China despite some speed bumps and the stage is setting for a massive pent up iPhone 12 cycle heading into the Fall in this key region as well as globally.
China remains a key ingredient in Apple’s recipe for success as we estimate roughly 20% of iPhone upgrades will be coming from this region over the coming year. Our recent Asia checks and supply chain contacts are now looking at iPhone units in the 160 million to 180 million range for CY20 with strong underlying momentum into CY21 on the heels of iPhone 12 which remains the linchpin to our “5G super cycle thesis” on Apple.
The services business we assign a $600 billion to $650 billion valuation range given the increasingly importance of this key revenue stream that is getting a new appreciation by investors during this COVID-19 pandemic, as Cook & Co. continue to stress the software/hardware ecosystem during WWDC this week virtually with developers front and center.
Maintains Outperform rating, raises price target to $425 from $375, establishes new “bull case target” of $500.
My take: Knowing Ives, it was only a matter of time.