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Apple on course to become the first TRILLION dollar company

iPhone launch

* Apple share rose as much as 3.7 percent, a record high on Friday as iPhone X is launched

* The company was at a point on Friday valued at $900 billion

* With strong sales forecast over the holiday, the Cupertino based company could become the first to reach a trillion dollar valuation


Apple Inc’s shares rose to a record high on Friday as more analysts set a trillion-dollar valuation on the company, following a blowout fourth quarter and an upbeat forecast that quashed investor concerns around the iPhone X.

Apple iPhone X launch in Singapore
People look at iPhone X during its launch at the Apple store in Singapore November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The stock rose as much as 3.7 percent to $174.26, briefly breaching $900 billion in market value, amid declines in the broader market. The gains added nearly $32 billion to the company’s market capitalization.

The Cupertino, California-based company also forecast a strong holiday quarter ahead, which will include the iPhone X that started selling on Nov. 3.

Apple iPhone X launch
People queue overnight for the iPhone X launch outside the Apple store in Singapore November 3, 2017. REUTERS

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“We see iPhone X unlocking pent-up iPhone upgrades, especially in China, driving more than 20 percent iPhone unit growth and a revenue and earnings beat in 2018,” analyst Katy Huberty on Morgan Stanley said.

The glass-and-steel $999 phone appeared to have brought back the frenzy associated with iPhone launches – long lines formed outside Apple stores across the world as fans flocked to buy the new phone.

Apple iPhone X launch New York, US
Customers wait in line for the new iPhone X, which goes on sale on November 3, outside an Apple store in New York City, U.S., November 2, 2017.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company will make 30 million iPhone X units during the current quarter, Nomura Instinet analysts estimated, allaying production worries related to the phone.

READ ALSO: Inside Apple’s $999 phone: Tear down image reveals the iPhone X has TWO batteries

Apple said on Thursday it expects first-quarter revenue of $84 billion to $87 billion, at the high end of analysts’ average expectation of $84.18 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Apple iPhone X animoji
Customers try out the iPhone X animoji feature. Credit: REUTERS

“We – and many others – had feared that guidance could be weaker, reflecting only 9 weeks of the flagship iPhone X and limitations on supply,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said.

At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Citigroup making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $30 to $200.

Apple iPhone X launch Japan
First buyer Yamaura, who denied to publicize his first name, holding Apple’s new iPhone X is surrounded by media after purchasing it at the Apple Store in Tokyo’s Omotesando shopping district, Japan, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanal

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Of the 37 analysts that track the stock, as per Thomson Reuters data, 31 had a “buy”, or higher rating. None had a “sell”.

With the latest brokerage actions, at least nine Wall Street analysts now have target prices that put Apple’s market value above $1 trillion. Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White is still the most bullish among Apple analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters, raising his target price further to $235.

Apple’s fourth-quarter results underscored the company’s ability to drive growth not just on iPhones, but across its range of products, analysts said.

Apple iPhone X launch Russia
Customers wait to buy Apple’s new iPhone X before its launch outside Central Universal Department Store (TsUm) in Moscow, Russia November 3, 2017. REUTERS

The company’s suite now includes five different iPhone models, the iPad, the Mac and the Apple Watch as well as its fast-growing services.

Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, above analysts’ estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. Mac and iPad sales too were above the estimates of most analysts.

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[Featured photo: REUTERS/David Gray]

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REUTERS
Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, England. It is a division of Thomson Reuters. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by the Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, making up the media division. Reuters transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese. It was established in 1851.
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