Barclays BARC.LN is bullish on Apple Inc.AAPL +1.28% So optimistic, in fact, that the firm says it is “back on board” with the iPhone and iPad maker’s stock price and expects the recent rally to continue in the months ahead.
Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes upgraded his rating on Apple to overweight from equal weight and lifted his price target 16% to $110, from $95, amid what he calls “a few big changes” since March. He is optimistic for three reasons: Apple has regained investor confidence, Samsung has struggled more than expected and Barclays’ so-called “product checks” are pretty optimistic.
“We believe Tim Cook has solidified his strategy and regained the confidence of Apple stakeholders in many ways — reversing many of the warning signs we saw earlier in the year,” Mr. Reitzes said in a note to clients.
Apple shares recently rose 1.6% to $96.72, the highest level since October 2012. The stock is up more than 20% this year and has risen roughly 58% over the past 12 months.
Shares are also up about 5% since Apple completed its 7-for-1 stock split last month. In a stock split, a company increases the number of shares outstanding while lowering the price accordingly. Splits don’t change anything fundamentally about a company or its valuation, but they tend to make a company’s stock more attractive to mom-and-pop investors. Apple shares rallied 23% from late April, when the company announced the split in conjunction with a strong quarterly report, through the day the split was completed.
One month later, shares have continued rallying.
Mr. Reitzes also noted “troubles at Samsung are opening up an opportunity for Apple to regain share, not only near term but possibly long term.” He also praised stronger-than-expected iPhone growth for March and June.
“We are compelled to get on board even if its midway through the rebound trade,” Mr. Reitzes says.