Wall Street breathes a sigh of relief after Apple’s better-than-feared June quarter

Analysts were generally pleased by Apple’s results — here’s a roundup of their responses, as collected by AppleInsider. Apple’s June quarter earnings came in slightly higher than expected this week, propelling shares higher by more than 6 percent back over the $100 threshold.

Apple reported $42.4 billion in revenue and quarterly net income of $7.8 billion, ahead of Wall Street consensus of $42.2 billion in revenue. iPhone sales — the key factor in Apple’s earnings — came in at 40.4 million units, also slightly ahead of market forecasts averaging 40 million.
Most analysts believe investors should buy in on AAPL stock before the “iPhone 7” launch, as well as what is predicted to be a huge 2017 for the company.
Shares of Apple jumped once the results came out in after-hours trading on Tuesday, and those gains carried into Wednesday morning, when the share price hovered around $103.

RBC Capital Markets: It’s all about the margins

Analyst Amit Daryanani said that investors were bracing for a miss in the June quarter, along with a guide-down for the upcoming September quarter. The market was generally pleased when they didn’t get that.

“Amazing things happen when investors don’t expect much,” he wrote.

In particular, Daryanani believes investors are encouraged by a more stable gross-margin line despite strong traction for the entry-level iPhone SE.

Margins for the quarter were at 38 percent, which was at the high end of Apple’s own guidance. Looking forward to the September quarter, Apple expects consistency, guiding to between 37.5 and 38 percent.

Piper Jaffray: With two shots, the odds are in Apple’s favor

Though sales are down year over year, analyst Gene Munster believes Apple is headed in the right direction and should return to growth in the December quarter.

In fact, even if the anticipated “iPhone 7” disappoints this fall, Munster told investors that he believes shares of AAPL will still outperform. He sees demand simply being pushed into calendar year 2017, assuming a more meaningful upgrade and aging device install base.

“We continue to believe that Apple will return to growth in Dec-16 via consumer interest in the iPhone 7 combined with easier comps,” Munster wrote. “If we are wrong, we think the disappointment of the iPhone 7 will pave the way for a strong iPhone 7S/8 cycle in CY17-18 given a large 2-3 year old device upgrade pool.”

Cowen and Company: Shares should perform better near-term

While he doesn’t think Apple stock is “out of the woods” quite yet, analyst Timothy Arcuri remains bullish on Apple’s prospects in 2017.

Citing data from the supply chain, he says he doesn’t believe Apple is currently gearing up to build 70-million-plus iPhones this fall. If that’s the case and Apple sees another year-over-year decline after the debut of its 2016 model, he believes shares could struggle.

But he believes investors should have a full position in AAPL by mid-to-late fall because he described himself as “very bullish” on the company’s next year. He’s particularly excited about rumors of a completely redesigned all-glass iPhone, combined with what he described as a “massively aging base” of iPhone users prime for upgrades.

Investors who see any perceived “weakness” in the stock below $100 per share should buy in, he advised.

Wells Fargo Securities: Focus on the extra week this fall

As he said earlier this week, analyst Maynard Um continues to believe that Apple’s December quarter will feature an extra week than then year prior. While it’s purely an accounting consideration, he noted that extra week of iPhone sales will make the comparison easier to the same quarter in 2015.

Um estimates that the extra week could add 3 million iPhone units to consensus. He believes Apple will reach 77 million units in the December quarter, easily besting the 74.8 million quarterly record it achieved in the holiday 2015 frame.

Brean Capital: Apple’s comments on iPhone ASP encouraging

Though the average selling price of the iPhone dropped to $595 last quarter due to the strength of the iPhone SE, Apple executives said they expect ASPs to increase in the current September quarter.

That’s encouraging news to analyst Ananda Baruah, who told investors that he sees iPhone ASPs increasing between 5 and 10 percent next quarter, reaching about $650. That’s expected to be aided by the fact that Apple is planning to cut back on channel inventory reductions, after a particularly aggressive June quarter.

More encouraging news came in the form of the iPad average selling price — at $490, it well exceeded Wall Street expectations of $430. iPad ASPs have been driven higher by the success of Apple’s iPad Pro lineup, in particular the 9.7-inch model starting at $599.

Rosenblatt Securities: Apple guidance signals solid ‘iPhone 7’ orders

While others are concerned that the “iPhone 7” could disappoint, analyst Jun Zhang believes Apple’s orders for the next-generation handset will be “fine.” The company is expected to announce and launch its 2016 model toward the end of the September quarter.

Zhang predicts that Apple will produce 54 million iPhone units in the current quarter, and will ship 45 million. While he expects an acceptable launch for the “iPhone 7,” overall sales are forecast drop year over year due to lagging performance of the iPhone 6s.

Zhang has still maintained cautiousness, citing concerns that cheap Chinese handset makers could chip away at Apple’s share locally.